#AuthorInterview : Janet LoSole, Author of Adventure by Chicken Bus #AdventurebyChickenBus #memoir @JanetLoSole

Hello Readers! I’m pleased to welcome Janet LoSole, Author of Adventure by Chicken Bus for an interview on Books Teacup and Review. Check out this interesting travel adventure memoir and author in this post.

Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America by Janet LoSole
Publication Date: December 11th 2019
Publisher: Resource Publications (CA)
Genre: Memoir / Travel Adventure

Sunopsis:

Embarking on a homeschooling field trip to Central America is stressful enough, but add in perilous bridge crossings, trips to the hospital, and a lack of women’s underwear, and you have the makings of an Adventure by Chicken Bus…a tale of one family, buckling under a mountain of debt, who sells all worldly possessions and hits the road.

Adventure by Chicken Bus demonstrates how to travel sustainably, but more importantly, how to nurture the next generation of environmentalists and social justice activists by exposing them to the conditions faced by those in the developing world.

From a remote monkey sanctuary tucked into an enclave on the Panama-Costa Rica frontier to the overdeveloped beaches of the Mayan Riviera, we endure chaotic border crossings, infections and injuries, learn about the history of the civil war in Nicaragua, visit UNESCO heritage sites, and hike the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal in Guatemala.

For the sake of safety, we plan our route down to the kilometer, navigating the region by chicken bus, an eye-opening mode of public transportation ubiquitous in the developing world. Along the way we re-connect with each other, re-kindle our commitment to the environment, recognize the privilege into which we were born, and become compassionate global citizens.

Janet LoSole is the author of Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French Linguistics from York University in Toronto and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Nipissing University. She is a certified TESOL instructor and has taught ESL internationally since 1994. She began homeschooling her daughters in 1997. She writes about traveling with children and homeschooling. Her work has been published in: Canada’s Education Magazine, Natural Parent Magazine, The Alliance for Self-Directed Education, Outdoor Families Online, Unravel, and elsewhere.

Can you tell readers a little about your book, Adventure by Chicken Bus? What they can expect from it?

Adventure by Chicken Bus demonstrates how to travel sustainably, but more importantly, how to nurture the next generation of environmentalists and social justice activists by exposing them to the conditions faced by those in the developing world.

From a remote monkey sanctuary tucked into an enclave on the Panama-Costa Rica frontier to the overdeveloped beaches of the Mayan Riviera, we endure chaotic border crossings, infections and injuries, learn about the history of the civil war in Nicaragua, visit UNESCO heritage sites, and hike the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal in Guatemala.

For the sake of safety, we plan our route down to the kilometer, navigating the region by chicken bus, an eye-opening mode of public transportation ubiquitous in the developing world. Along the way we re-connect with each other, re-kindle our commitment to the environment, recognize the privilege into which we were born, and become compassionate global citizens.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? 

I first decided to write a book so my daughters would have a record of our adventure. I’d written a blog while we were on the road and once we returned home, I compiled all the blog entries into chapters. Then, I researched the market and found that although there are scads of blogs about traveling with kids, there are not that many memoirs about that.

The book is unique because most families homeschool temporarily because they are taking their kids on a trip. We were traveling because our kids were homeschooled. So the homeschoolers and worldschoolers out there needed a story by someone from their community. The book is also for people longing to travel with their kids, people who like adventure memoirs, and also expats who can relate to settling into a foreign community.

At the end of the day however, I wrote the book to answer the incessant questions from people who were curious about what we had done.

So you mentioned this is about a homeschooling field trip in this memoir. What are your thoughts on homeschooling?

The growing homeschooling movement points to large scale disillusionment in institutionalized education. Homeschooling has some drawbacks; a lack of resources for example (parents don’t have full science labs in their home or a regulation size soccer pitch).  However, it offers children a wide scope of opportunities to learn what they are interested in. This was the single driving force behind our decision to homeschool.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing Adventure by Chicken Bus?

I knew nothing about writing a long-form piece of prose. I’d only written short articles as a freelance writer. I spent a great deal of time learning how to write paragraphs that lead to chapters. I also learned about how to structure a memoir and how to pare down superfluous prose. In a nutshell, self-editing was the biggest challenge.

How long does it take you to write a book?

This is my first book. It took me years because I was homeschooling full-time while I was writing it. Full-time homeschooling, for those who are unaware, is 24/7. It’s a totally different system that traditional schooling.

Did you outline your book beforehand? Why or why not?

I did outline it in the sense that I wrote a blog on the trip and I used the blog entries as the skeleton for the book. I could not have done it otherwise; I would not have remembered as much if I had just written it without any outline to rely on.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned through writing Adventure by Chicken Bus?

I’ve learned that anyone can write a book if they take the time to learn how to write. I attended workshops, I asked fellow authors lots of questions, I read tons of books on how to write, as well as books in my genre. Most importantly, I learned to never give up the dream of becoming published.

Tell us about your journey to publication. 

I took a mathematical approach to getting published. I created color-coded charts and developed lists. I discovered that a fellow travel memoirist had queried 150 publishers before getting her book accepted so I relied on that number to set my goals. I had a spread sheet that compartmentalized publishers by region, then by genre, then by response time. I queried the publishers whose response time was many months out, and then I went down the list, first to Canadian publishers who were interested in my genre (travel, memoir), then branding out to the US, the UK, etc. On the spreadsheet I noted who was looking for a full proposal and who just wanted a query letter. I forced myself to learn how to write synopses, pitches, and proposals. On the 67th query, my book was accepted.

What are your most favorite and least favorite things about being an author?

There is a deep sense of accomplishment when you are a published author. For me personally, I feel that this has had a positive impact on my daughters who have their own dreams. I hope that my determination to get published will set an example of how to set goals and to never give up.

The least favorite thing about being an author is the pressure to write the next book.

Do you have any writing rituals?

As much as I chastise myself for going on social media, I learned to allow myself a bit of time during my morning tea to wake up and engage with others before settling in to write. I also have to take breaks. Often I just get in some laundry or start dinner on these breaks but in the nice weather I get out and walk or ride my bike to allow my brain a break.

What is your favorite childhood book?

Dr. Dolittle

What is the next project you’re working on?

I am currently working with my oldest daughter on a short film screenplay (she is an actor). 

When not writing, what do you like to do to relax?

I love to read, but I also love to watch Netflix, primarily k-dramas.

Can you describe Adventure by Chicken Bus in five words?

Kids, monkeys, spiders, bananas, turtles

And the last one, top 3 tips for aspiring authors.

  1. Learn (the library has dozens of books on how to write)
  2. Patience (it takes a long time to get published)
  3. Never. Give. Up. Never.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Book Links: (Amazon)

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and interview?
Have you read this book?
Are you going to add it to TBR?

HAPPY READING!!

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Self Confident Sandy by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino & Illustrated by Sally Huss @SallyHuss #Bookbuzz #KidsBooks @LoveBooksGroup #Lovebookstours

Hello Readers! I’m excited to be part of book blitz for Self-Confident Sandy by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, organized by  Love Books Group. Read more about this interesting children’s book in this post.

Synopsis:

Sandy was full of self-confidence. Where did it come from? She could do anything, but why? Ah, she had a special mantra that she used to explain herself. “” You may ask me why I can do anything I try… and the only answer can be: all these things are inside me!’ Yes, I can do most anything. Once I set my mind and heart to it, I find that there is nothing to it. Still, I keep my mantra handy,” explained Self-Confident Sandy!

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2USHPPd

About Sally Huss

Author/Illustrator Sally Huss creates children’s books to uplift the lives of children. She does this by giving them tools to overcome obstacles; by helping them value themselves and others; and by inspiring them to be the best that they can be. Her catalogue of books now exceeds 100.

“Bright and happy,” “light and whimsical” have been the catch phrases attached to the writings and art of Sally Huss for over 30 years. Sweet images dance across all of Sally’s creations, whether in the form of children’s books, paintings, wallpaper, ceramics, baby bibs, purses, clothing, or her King Features syndicated newspaper panel “Happy Musings.”

Sally is a graduate of USC with a degree in Fine Art and through the years has had 26 of her own licensed art galleries throughout the world. sallyhuss.com.

About Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is one of America’s foremost personal and corporate development consultants. She is the creator of The Best Ever You Network (or Best Ever You), a leading multimedia provider of lifestyle and self-help content. While participating in the Harvard Business School for Leadership program, Elizabeth serves as a Leadership Advisor for the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute.

In 2020 Elizabeth joined Sally Huss to create the best-selling children’s book A Lesson for Every Child: Learning About Food Allergies. Living with life-threatening food allergies for many years, Elizabeth added her personal experience and her expertise to the project. She also sits on several boards of organizations and foundations that bring awareness to this life-threatening condition.

Elizabeth is also the best-selling author of Percolate – Let Your Best Self Filter Through (Hay House Publishing). elizabethguarino.com.

ORGANIZED BY:

Love Books Group

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book?
Have you read this book already or any book by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?

HAPPY READING!!

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#BookReview : Autoboyography by Christina Lauren #Autoboyography #LGBT #Contemporary #Romance @simonteen

Autoboyography

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: LGBT / YA / Contemporary Romance
Pages: 407
Stars: ★★★★★

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him. 

*** Note: I read this book online available as free read on Riveted by Simon Teen. Many thanks to publisher. ***

Autoboyography was LGBT, contemporary romance that revolved around relationship between two high school boys in Mormon town. It was about finding and accepting true self, being you and loving yourself the way you are, family relationship, Mormonism, views on bisexuals and gays and their feelings, friendship, and m/m romance.

WOW! This book was amazing. Characters, plot, setting, theme, writing, monologues and dialogues, school, school work, seminar, book writing, those post it notes, and messages- everything from first word to last full stop at the end, I loved it all. Writing was gripping, flawless and beautiful. Told in first person narrative in witty and refreshing voice of Tanner made the book enjoyable.

Book started with Tanner telling about his friendship with Autumn ever since he moved to Utah, his life at Provo high in LDS town among LDS students and how suffocating he felt keeping his bisexuality secret because of his ex-Mormon mom’s past experience and what her family did to his mom’s lesbian sister. When Autumn challenged him to join the seminar that means he had to write entire book to pass the class, he went along with it thinking writing book in four month would be simple, a piece of cake.

Well, it was actually simple for him as this year prestigious LDS student and bishop’s son – Sebastian – was teacher assistant in this seminar who happened to be hot and handsome and sparks were flying when they met eyes in the first class. He inspired Tanner to write his own story and feelings, an autobiography with their story.

The attraction and infatuation turned into real feelings and love but every love story has obstacles and here it was Mormon religion. Sebastian and his family were through and through Mormon, their religion and beliefs don’t accept gay relationships. It was interesting to find out where this relationship and feelings lead Tanner and his book on his bisexuality, will Sebastian reciprocate his feelings and if so, will he keep it secret, and what will happen when Sebastian’s family will know about his sexuality and relationship.

Family dynamic was amazing. I loved Tanner’s family. Father- Jewish but not very Jewish or followed Jewish tradition and rules, Mother Ex-LDS, Aunt- Lesbian, and sister- a teen who was outspoken and true gothic lover. Tanner’s parents were so supportive, understanding and lovely. I loved the way they waved their gay friendly flag. They accepted their son and daughter the way they were, answered their all curious questions, discussed things, loved them unconditionally. They raised equally amazing son, Tanner.

Tanner was best, my new favorite character who won my heart. He was smart, funny, and adorable. He wore his heart on sleeves but at the same time he was being cautious in town of Mormon. And when he fell in love, wow, he was on cloud nine and was writing such romantic book. He was developed character but not totally perfect. There was a moment when he made huge mistake but he wasn’t the one who would turn his head away and run in opposite direction. He was one of those who will face the situation and solve the problem. I loved that in him. His feeling, thoughts, and reactions were heat felt and so realistic.

Sebastian was written wonderfully. He was perfect son, perfect LDS, perfect student and to-be-published author. He has even perfected his smile and facial expression but he was gay and that was imperfection for him. I could see why he felt it was wrong to use gay word or accept it. He lived and was brought up in house and town that felt the same and it was instilled so deep in him. Like Tanner, I loved it when Tanner made him throw that perfection and false smile out of window and accept the real him and let his feeling come out. But it took lot of chapters and pages, heartbreak and suffering for him to accept who he was, what he wanted and decide what to do about it. His development was slow and steady. We see much later what was going on in his mind but all his feelings and struggle was shown through his conversations with Tanner and what Tanner understood from his reactions and replies.

Best thing in the book was balance between family, friendship and romance. His friendship with Autumn was great. I enjoyed reading their time together and conversation between them. It did look complicated from the beginning and I suspected it will come in between Tanner’s relationship with Sebastian but I loved how they made things smooth at the end. I loved Autumn by the way.

I loved romance and chemistry between Tanner and Sebastian. There was instant attraction and it took less time in turning that to boyfriend and love but doubt and complications was always there. Tanner knew giving Sebastian heart would be big mistake, his parents were right to worry and me too was dreading heartbreak as soon as they kissed first time. And when that heartbreak came, I hated Sebastian at that time. I didn’t want to understand his situation. How could he do that!

At climax, things turned from complicated to disastrous by Tanner’s mistake and then its admission. Honestly, I thought book will end here but then came second blow. Of course there need to be more because life is not that simple. I liked reading what happened at Sebastian’s home and what he felt in this part. End was good and epilogue was best.

Overall, it was lovely, heartwarming, refreshing, and the best contemporary romance and LGBT book I ever read.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon| Book Depository

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What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is your favorite LGBTQ book?

HAPPY READING!!

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WEEKLY WRAP-UP #WEEKINREADING (6/4/’20)

Hello Readers! I hope you all are safe and staying at home. I’m getting tired of this lock down mostly because there is no particular routine now. I did enjoy few days sleeping when I wish and waking up late and doing daily work when I feel like but now I’m sick of it. It’s bringing the worst out of my husband. I so wish he is back at his 10 to 7 job. I read 2 books last week and now that I don’t have any deadlines I I’m mood of reading and it’s so much fun.

What I read last week-

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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I loved this book. I’m glad there were few unpredictable moments, it didn’t end where I thought it will, and had more obstacles and self-doubts. It was best romance I read so far. I wish I had paperback rather than reading it online.

Those Who Came Before by J.H. Moncrieff

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This was good horror story. That Wendigo did gave me creep. If you like those horrible, ugly mythical creatures that make you want to puke, and story around that thing, you will love this.

Currently reading-

I’m not reading anything yet but I’ll start this after I’m done writing review of Those Who Came Before.

The Twin by Natasha Preston

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In this psychological thriller, Emmy finds out that her twin sister, Iris, is trying to push her out of her own life—and might be responsible for their mother’s death.

After their parents divorced, 10-year-old twins Emmy and Iris were split up—Emmy lived with Dad, Iris with Mom. Now, after a tragic accident takes their mom’s life, the twins are reunited and Iris moves in with Emmy and their dad. Devastated over Mom’s death, Iris spends the first few weeks in almost total silence—the only person she will speak to is Emmy. Iris feels her life is over and she doesn’t know what to do. Emmy promises her twin that she can share her life now. After all, they’re sisters. Twins.

It’s a promise that Iris takes seriously. And before long, Emmy’s friends, her life at school, and her boyfriend, Tyler, fall under Iris’s spell. Slowly, Emmy realizes she’s being pushed out of her own life. But she’s just being paranoid, right? And Mom’s accident was . . . just an accident. Right? It’s not like she—or Dad—or Tyler—are in any danger. . . 

I thought I will read this last weekend but then I was in mood for horror and I was seeing that Those Who Came Before on shelf for long time.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

I’m finally in mood for this big book but I’m going to read it simultaneously. It will take longer that way but I have no other option. My daughter doesn’t let me sit at one place for more than 15 minutes and I cannot hold this book in one hand and my daughter with other. Plan is when she is having nap in noon/evening, I’ll read this and rest of the time I’ll read other books in my kindle.

Let’s discuss!

What did you read last week?
What are you planning to read this week?
Have you read any of these books?

HAPPY READING!!

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#BookReaview : Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor #BeyondTheMoon #HistoricalFiction #WWI #Timeslip @CathTaylorNovel

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Beyond The Moon by Catherine Taylor
Publication Date: January 2020
Publisher: The Cameo Press Ltd
Genre: Historical Fiction / Romance / Time Travel
Pages: 494
Stars: ★★★★★

Outlander meets Birdsong is this haunting debut timeslip novel, where a strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War and a young woman living in modern-day England a century later.

*Shortlisted for the Eharmony/Orion Write Your Own Love Story Prize 2018/19

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…

Two people, two battles: one against the invading Germans on the battlefields of 1916 France, the other against a substandard, uncaring mental health facility in modern-day England. Two journeys begun a century apart, but somehow destined to coincide – and become one desperate struggle to be together.

*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Beyond The Moon was captivating historical romance set in dual timeline that revolved around grief stricken medical student Louisa Casson and WWI soldier and artist Robert Lovett. It was about horrors of WWI, war and its impact on soldiers, how war changed people and how it affected their life and mental status, inhumane treatment towards patients in private psychiatric institute, grief, loss and love.

Writing was flawless, lyrical, and descriptive. I enjoyed description of Coldbrook Hall, psychiatry ward, both modern and WWI era, battles and life of soldiers and VAD nurses. It was wonderfully narrated in Louisa and Robert’s voice that gave life to story.

As synopsis said book started with Louisa’s stupid mistake of falling over cliff that was seen as suicide attempt and was admitted to ColdBrook hall Psychiatry ward without her will. We don’t see many hope for her coming out anytime soon. (As I discussed with Virginia the way people were treated at this psychiatry institute and the way staff behaved- both nurses and doctors- it didn’t look like all that behavior and treatment can happen in modern time (2017). It felt more like institute from 40s or 60s.) So good thing happened to Louisa after coming here was her time slip back in 1916 and met Robert who was recovering hysterical blindness. Was Louisa really not right in mind, why she time slipped and met Robert, what was connecting her to this era and why she was wearing Rose Ashby’s clothes whenever she went back in time, what was her connection to Rose? It was interesting to get answers to all this questions.

All characters we well written. Their emotions, thoughts and life was portrayed wonderfully. Both Louisa and Robert were developed, were going through a lot in different time period. Common thing was- that formed a connection- they both were broken and lost soul.

Louisa was emotionally disturbed because of her grandmother’s death and her involuntary admission in psychiatric hospital. Careless and compassionless staff and doctors weren’t ready to even consider her perspective or listen to her plea. She was good person and made friends and won heart of few patients at Coldbrook who taught her rules to survive this heartless place. Her dilemma on meeting Robert and time slip, feeling of hopelessness and loneliness was narrated realistically. I agreed with Louisa, it didn’t make sense. Her emotions and love for Robert was classic. I loved reading her feelings and view point. Her friendship with secondary character both in 2017 and 1917 and her will and determinations to help her friends, Robert, and others amazing.

All chapters narrated in her voice told about her life and family, life at hospital and connection to WWI era and what she time slipped back in 1917. What I love most about her narration was stark difference of two era, lifestyle, language and people and above all the comfort of modern times and her struggle in history without the advancement of present times.

Robert was great throughout the book. War changed him a lot. It did damage but also taught him compassion and understand grief and loss. He respected those who wanted to preserve their sanity by not involving in war and I agreed his view on conscientious objectors. War seeped so deep in his mind and soul that he couldn’t cope with normality, his blindness, and not being at war leading his men at front. His hopelessness, tragedy he saw, guilt he felt for killing men, losing his own men and then losing eyesight was sad and heartfelt. His reaction on finding out Louisa’s secret was natural. I would have thought the same if I was at his place. I don’t judge him for what he did. But life after the heartbreak for him was horrible.

As character I loved Louisa but when it comes to narration, Robert’s POV on WWI, politics, soldiers and their condition on both British and German side, state of land and villages, nature and prisoners was brilliant, poetic and deep. Author got into his artistic side so well. It was all so lifelike, poignant and horror filled yet there was beauty in words.

Romance was classic. Both Louisa and Robert felt connection from the very beginning, couldn’t help but wait to meet each other next time and as they knew more about each other they found themselves falling in love so deep that centaury long gap couldn’t stop their love. It added a good deal mystery and curiosity. I kept reading to see if they will meet again and how. I feel their time apart in second part was really long but even in their separate chapters their love was in center of all.

Second half of the book was best. I loved reading life of VAD nurses and what it was like in medical camp during WWI. I could guess mystery behind the time slip but the way it was explained, Louisa’s conversation about it and trying to understand logic and purpose behind it was best. Climax was tense. Louisa’ hopelessness and frustration was palpable. I felt she couldn’t find her way back but then that sudden chance, it felt both dramatic and knife-edged. End was good, I was dreading the worst but it was filled with happiness and hope.

Why 4.5 stars-

I’m still skeptical about what happened from climax to end. I know whole time slip thing was implausible and I was prepared for it but that decision of Louisa just after that incident at hospital and time slip and at the end was unbelievable. But I’m rounding it to 5 star because I loved writing and plot.

Overall, it was intriguing, poignant historical romance with wonderful writing and concept. I highly recommend this book to fans of time travel and historical fiction.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review?
Have you read this book already?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
Which is your favorite time travel or WWI/WWII book?

HAPPY READING!!

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