Army Wife: A Story of Love and Family in the Heart of the Army by Vicki Cody

Army Wife

I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the blog tour for Army Wife! I was originally going to participate on Ech & Will, but I’m having some technical difficulties over there. I don’t have the energy to deal with it so for now I’m just blogging at Ech Reads.


Title: Army Wife: A Story of Love and Family in the Heart of the Army
Author: Vicki Cody
Release Date: August 16th 2016
Pages: 280
Publisher: She Writes Press
Source: sparkpoint studio

From the last days of the Vietnam War to the present-day war on terrorism, this story is a moving and poignant tribute to love, marriage, family, and the men and women who serve this nation. In describing her thirty-three-year journey as an Army wife, Cody gives an in-depth look at what it takes to keep a marriage strong, raise a family—oftentimes as a single parent—create a home, and face separations and loneliness amid the uncertainty and stresses that are so much a part of Army life.

Over the years, Cody learns to embrace the uniqueness of her circumstances, and she finds joy, self-fulfillment, and pride in her role. But when both her sons follow in their dad’s footsteps, becoming Army Aviators and flying Apache helicopters in combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, Cody faces her greatest challenges as a mother and again, must balance the needs of her family with her husband’s position. Full of humor and honesty, Army Wife brings the reader into Cody’s private life in a very personal way, and in doing so opens the lens for a broader view of world events.


More about Vicki Cody:

Vicki Cody grew up in Burlington, Vermont and graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS degree in education in 1975. For the next thirty-three years she was an Army wife, supporting her husband in his career. While raising their two sons and moving all over the United States and overseas, she served as a coach and mentor for other Army spouses, and as an advocate for Army families. Her first book, Your Soldier, Your Army: A Parents’ Guide was published by the Association of the United States Army in 2005. Her articles have appeared in numerous military magazines and publications. This is her first memoir. She and her husband of forty years live in the Washington, DC area.

Book Review: Dandelion on Fire by Sherry Torgent [Spoiler Free]

Title: Dandelion on Fire
Author: Sherry Torgent
Release Date: January 31, 2015
Pages: 414
Publisher: Blue Ink Press
Source: Blue Ink Press
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

Everyone knows the legend–Greene Island is cursed. 17-yr-old Hardy Vance doesn’t care about curses. All he wants to do is graduate from high school and head to college on the mainland. But Hardy has a knack for finding trouble. When he gets stuck doing community service with a girl that has a secret, their lives quickly become entwined in a murder mystery that leads straight back into the island’s dark past and the dreaded Curse of Viola. It’s up to Hardy and the supernatural abilities of his friends to uncover the horrible truth using the only clue left behind. A dandelion seed.


What I Loved:

// Steady pacing. I felt like every chapter or every other chapter released a little bit more information…but not enough information to make it boring. I was engaged throughout the book.

// Realistic reactions. For example: If someone told me they could fly, I’d be shocked. But then I’d have a few dozen questions. How fast can you fly? How far can you fly before you get tired? Can you carry me on your back? Do you own a car or do you just fly everywhere? I liked that a couple characters had similar reactions to a certain character’s ability.

// The cover! It’s so pretty and I love keeping the book out on my desk or sitting on top of my low shelves so I can see it when I pass by.

// The curse. The legend was so interesting and it really drew me into the mystique of the island. It would definitely draw me to visit Greene Island as a tourist.

// A manageable level of supernatural. Sometimes I feel like books, shows, or movies with supernatural elements try to cram too much supernatural activity into a short space. I liked that the level in Dandelion on Fire was manageable and not overwhelming.

What I Wished For:

// The curse. I loved the curse so much, I wish there were more examples of eerie things that happened around the island that could be attributed to it.

// Charity Hill. I hated her, but I was intrigued by her character. I’m curious about her motivations and the reasoning behind some of her behavior toward Hardy.

// Tate Vance. He seemed to show up at the weirdest times and he was noticeably absent in times that I thought he would be around.

// A second book. Oh wait!! I already have it!

Overall I really liked this book. The mystery and supernatural activity worked hand in hand to keep me interested and in suspense throughout the whole book. The bulk of the story is told through Hardy’s point of view, but chapters from other characters’ points of view are interspersed between Hardy’s chapters. The differing perspectives were done nicely and I didn’t get confused when switching back and forth. I actually thought it added to the story to hear from other characters every once in awhile.


 
 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from Blue Ink Press in exchange for an honest review.*

T5W: My Wishlist

If you want to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday or you’d like to join in on the fun, here’s the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

So here’s my wishlist: https://amzn.com/w/2MZ14YUWDB2JC

My list was severely diminished after my birthday so it’s not as long as it used to be. The five most recent titles are the only five books I’ve added since then. What have you recently added to your wishlist? I’m curious!

T5W: My Sequel Wishlist

If you want to learn more about Top 5 Wednesday or you’d like to join in on the fun, here’s the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic: Books You Wish Had Sequels

I’m greedy and I want more books in The Raven Cycle. I think the ending of The Raven King left the possibility open to more adventures, especially from Ronan. I also have a LOT of questions that could be answered. And I’m sure with more answers, more questions would arise…meaning I’d need more books. I’d be happy to read The Raven Cycle books forever.

I just want to ask the two a few questions. “Hey guys, you okay? Did your life work out alright? How did everything go after your book ended?” I saw an interview with Rainbow Rowell and she basically said she has those questions too. I think it would be awesome to get a “10 years later, where are they now?” sort of sequel.

This might be cheating, but I would actually love a prequel to this one. Merrin’s father, Tarquin has such a presence and I’m curious about his motivations and his past. I think a sequel could be cool too. I’m sure there would be some crazy aftermath from the ending of Melophobia.

The ending was so abrupt and rushed, it was awful! There are so many things that could be cleaned up and clarified in a second book. It would have to be done right though. I had so much fun reading The Royal We and I’m not ashamed to say it. A sequel would have to be equally dramatic and salacious and Will+Kate-y.

There is so much potential for so many more books in this series. Out of everything on this list, I want sequels to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy the most.

Book of the Month Unboxing | June 2016

I’ve never felt the need to pay for a book subscription box because I didn’t see anything in unboxings that I had to have that were omg so cute. But when I heard about Book of the Month, I thought it was something I could see being worth the money. The more unboxings I saw and the more I heard happy reviews, the more I considered trying it out.

Instead of receiving a mystery book every month, a panel of judges picks 5 new releases. Then you get to choose which book you receive. If you want to add another title, you can add on for $9.99. If none of the books sound interesting, you can choose to skip the month.

I love that you get what you want and you don’t pay for a book you aren’t interested in.

I picked Before the Fall and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve heard some good things about it so far.

Since I used a special promotion code, I didn’t think I was eligible for the summer promo. I was surprised to find sunglasses and a tote in my box. Yay! I also found a note from the judge who picked my book, a postcard, and a bookmark in my box.

Want to sign up for Book of the Month? Here’s my referal code: https://www.bookofthemonth.com/referCode/?referCode=tzyhckiryovibe29 No pressure to use it, it’s there if you want it. If not, here’s their site sans referral code: https://www.bookofthemonth.com

Returning to DNF-ed Books

This week’s topic for Tuesday Talks:
Have you ever returned to a book you DNFed and finished it?

Yes. Sometimes I change moods in the middle of a book or another book distracts me. I currently have three books that I want to return to.

I started Life After Life by Kate Atkinson last year and I keep meaning to pick it back up again. I originally checked it out on Overdrive, but it was due back before I could finish. I kept putting it on hold and re-checking it out until I found in on sale on Book Outlet. Now it’s waiting on my self whenever I’m ready.

I started Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami last year too. I was really enjoying it at the time. I started a challenge or readathon so I switched to books to fulfill the categories for whatever it was. I picked it up again a few months ago, but I wasn’t in the mood for it. I’m hoping to return to it and finish it by the end of the summer….at the latest, the end of the year.

I first picked The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney up at my local library back in April. I had been anticipating its release for months so I was really excited to see it checked in and I snatched it up. But I took too long to read it and it was due before I could really get into it. I only made it a few chapters in. From what I read, I think I’m going to like it so I’ll eventually check it out again.

Tuesday Talks is a Goodreads group that I occasionally take part in.

What about you? When you DNF books is it for good or do you ever return to it?

[Spoiler Free] Book Review: Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden

Title: Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Author: Blaine Harden
Release Date: March 29th 2012
Pages: 205
Publisher: Viking Books
Source: My collection
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

The heartwrenching New York Times bestseller about the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped.

North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.

In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.

The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.

Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.

 


My thoughts:

// This story is such a compelling one. I set it down for a while to read other books, but when I picked it up again I found myself as interested in the story as when I first picked it up.

// The author doesn’t just tell Shin’s story. He also gives background information about the history and politics of North Korea. It was a good crash course on the country.

// The writing style is that of an investigative piece for a magazine. Each chapter reads like a single installation so it will often reiterate information or anecdotes from previous chapters. This is good for readers who don’t read large chunks at a time and a little off putting for readers who binge read.

// The writing style also made it hard to emotionally connect with Shin because the reader is pulled away from the narrative to be educated on facts. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt a lot of heartbreak and sadness for what Shin and the prisoners went through/are going through.

// I felt the last chapter could have been expanded a bit. I wanted to see more of Shin’s personal progress in Washington and how he managed to overcome his problem with public speaking. It’s touched on and explained, but I wanted just a little more.

After reading Escape from Camp 14, I’m interested in reading more on North Korea. I’ve heard great things about In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom so that is definitely on my TBR. If you have any recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!