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#BookReview At Attention by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress

#BookReview At Attention by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress Title: At Attention

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #2

Published by: Carina Press on Apr. 10, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 304

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up. 

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother. 

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.


Review:

Emotional, passionate and incredibly steamy!

This is a hot military romance that combines a young, flirty, charming childhood educator with an older, tough, sexy, grieving widower of twins in an intriguing story filled with angst, tension, smoking chemistry, guilt, heartache and love.

The writing is smooth and clear. The characters are genuine, consumed and strong. And the plot uses different points of view and a slow sultry build to captivate and intrigue until the very last page and the desired happy-ever-after ending.

This really is an enjoyable novel by Albert and once again she’s proven she can write racy banter and erotic sex scenes with the best of them.

This is the second novel in the “Out of Uniform” series. If you haven’t had a chance to read my review of Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) you can check it out HERE.

 

This book is due to be published on April 10, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBarnes & Noble

 

Thank you to Carina Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Annabeth Albert

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz @BrendaJanowitz @HarlequinBooks @BookClubbish #TheGraceKellyDress

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz @BrendaJanowitz @HarlequinBooks @BookClubbish #TheGraceKellyDress Title: The Grace Kelly Dress

Author: Brenda Janowitz

Published by: Graydon House Books on Mar. 3, 2020

Genres: Women's Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Two years after Grace Kelly’s royal wedding, her iconic dress is still all the rage in Paris—and one replica, and the secrets it carries, will inspire three generations of women to forge their own paths in life and in love.

Paris, 1958: Rose, a seamstress at a fashionable atelier, has been entrusted with sewing a Grace Kelly—look-alike gown for a wealthy bride-to-be. But when, against better judgment, she finds herself falling in love with the bride’s handsome brother, Rose must make an impossible choice, one that could put all she’s worked for at risk: love, security and of course, the dress.

Sixty years later, tech CEO Rachel, who goes by the childhood nickname “Rocky,” has inherited the dress for her upcoming wedding in New York City. But there’s just one problem: Rocky doesn’t want to wear it. A family heirloom dating back to the 1950s, the dress just isn’t her. Rocky knows this admission will break her mother Joan’s heart. But what she doesn’t know is why Joan insists on the dress—or the heartbreaking secret that changed her mother’s life decades before, as she herself prepared to wear it.

As the lives of these three women come together in surprising ways, the revelation of the dress’s history collides with long-buried family heartaches. And in the lead-up to Rocky’s wedding, they’ll have to confront the past before they can embrace the beautiful possibilities of the future.


Review:

Sentimental, heartfelt, and enchanting!

The Grace Kelly Dress is a sweet, captivating tale that takes you on a journey into the lives of three main characters. Rose, a young Paris seamstress employed by the esteemed Madame Michel in the late 1950s to handcraft dresses fashioned after the one worn by Princess Grace; Joan, a college student at NYCU in the 1980s who is struggling with the loss of her sister and a new engagement; and Rocky, an independent, tech CEO whose modern-day, upcoming nuptials are marred by the pressure to wear the family’s heirloom gown.

The prose is well turned and intriguing. The characters are resolute, independent, and multilayered. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a charming tale of familial dynamics, drama, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, introspection, passion, and tradition.

Overall, The Grace Kelly Dress is a nostalgic, absorbing, uplifting tale by Janowitz that highlights the complex ties that bind us as a family and reminds us that happy-ever-afters come in all different forms but rarely resemble those found in fairytales.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

EXCERPT:

The mother of the bride, as a bride herself
Long Island, 1982

She loved the dress. She loved the veil that went with it, too, though she wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged. It was showing signs of age, its edges curling and tinged with brown. But that wouldn’t dull her excitement.

Today was the day she would be trying on her mother’s wedding dress. Even though Joanie had tried it on countless times as a child—it was a favorite rainy-day activity with her mother—today felt different. She was engaged, just like she’d dreamed about ever since she could remember. When she tried the dress on this time, it was for keeps. She was completely in love with the dress.

“Let me help you get it on,” Joanie’s mother said, her French accent coming through. It was always more pronounced when she was feeling emotional. With her American friends, Joanie noticed, her mother always tried to sound “American,” softening her accent and using American expressions. But when they were alone, she could be herself. Let her guard down. Joanie knew exactly who her mother was, and she loved her for it.

Her mother handed Joanie a pair of white cotton gloves and then put on her own set. The first step in trying the dress on, always, so that the oils in their hands wouldn’t defile the fabric. She laid the large box on her bed and nodded her head at her husband, her signal to give them privacy. The door closed to Joanie’s childhood bedroom, and she and her mother were alone.

The white cotton gloves were cool and smooth on her skin. Joanie opened the box slowly. So slowly. It was sealed with a special plastic that was supposed to keep it airtight so that the dress would not oxidize and turn yellow. She and her mother laughed as they struggled to set the dress free. The last time she tried the dress on was the summer before her sister died. It was after Michele’s death that her mother brought the dress into the city so that it might be cleaned properly and preserved for just this day. At the time, Joanie hadn’t understood the connection between her sister’s sudden death and her mother’s tight grip on family heirlooms, but now, a year into her psychology degree at NYC University, she understood. It was so hard to hold on to things that were important to you, things that mattered, and preserving her wedding dress, this memory, was her mother’s way of taking control of something. It was something she could save.

The dress was just as beautiful as she’d remembered. Crafted from rose point lace, the same lace used on Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress, it was delicate and classic and chic and a million other things Joanie couldn’t even articulate.

“Go on,” her mother said, holding the first part of the dress—the bodice with the attached underbodice, skirt support, and slip—out for her to take. As a child, it had thrilled Joanie to no end that the wedding dress her mother wore was actually made up of four separate pieces. It was like a secret that a bride could have on her special day, something that no one else knew.

“I couldn’t,” Joanie said, hands at her side. Knowing how carefully preserved the dress had been, what the dress had meant to her mother, it was hard for Joanie to touch it. She didn’t want to get it dirty, sully its memory. “It’s just so beautiful.”

“It’s yours now,” her mother said, smiling warmly. “The dress belongs to you. Put it on.”

Joanie kicked off her ballerina flats, and her mother helped her ease the bodice on. Joanie stood at attention as her mother snapped the skirt into place, and wrapped the cummerbund around her waist. Joanie held her hands high above her head, not wanting to get in the way of her mother’s expert hands, hands that knew exactly where to go, fingers that knew exactly what to do.

“You ready in there, Birdie?” her father yelled from the hallway, impatient, his French accent just as strong as the day he left France. Joanie always loved how her father had a special nickname for her mother. When they first married, he would call her mother GracieBird, a nickname of Grace Kelly’s, because of the Grace Kelly–inspired wedding gown she wore on their wedding day. Eventually, it was shortened to Bird, and then over time, it became Birdie. What would Joanie’s fiancé call her?

Joanie inspected her reflection in the mirror. Her shoulder-length blond hair, recently permed, looked messy. Her pink eye shadow, which had always seemed so grown-up on her sister, made her appear tired and puffy-eyed. But the dress? The dress was perfect.

Her mother opened the door slowly, and her father’s face came into view. His expression softened as he saw his daughter in the wedding dress. She walked out into the hallway, towards him, and she could see a tear forming in the corner of his eye.

She turned to her mother, about to tell her that Daddy was crying, when she saw that her mother, too, had teared up. Joanie couldn’t help it—seeing her mother and father cry, she began to cry as well. She could never keep a dry eye when someone else was crying, least of all her parents, ex-pats from Europe who hardly ever cried.

Michele’s presence floated in the air like a haze, but no one would say it. No one dared mention that she would have worn the dress first. Should have worn the dress first.

“And look at us,” her mother said, her hands reaching out and grabbing for her husband and daughter. “All of us crying like little babies.”

All three embraced—carefully, of course, so as not to ruin the dress.

Her father kissed the top of her head. “Give us a twirl.”

Joanie obliged. The dress moved gracefully as she spun. Joanie curtsied, and her father gently took her hand and kissed it.

“I know what you’re thinking,” her mother said, her voice a song.

“What?” Joanie asked absentmindedly, while staring at her reflection in the mirror. She knew the first thing she’d change—the sleeves. The dress needed big, voluminous sleeves, just like Princess Diana had worn on her wedding day.

“Or I should say who you’re thinking about,” her mother said, a gentle tease.

“Who?” Joanie asked, under her breath, twirling from side to side in front of the mirror, watching the dress move.

“Your fiancé,” her mother said, furrowing her brow. “Remember him?”

“For sure,” Joanie said, spinning around to face her mother. “My fiancé. Yes. I knew that. And, yes. I was.” But the truth was, she had completely forgotten.

 

Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Brenda Janowitz

Brenda Janowitz is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party and Recipe for a Happy Life. She is the Books Correspondent for PopSugar. Brenda's work has also appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, Salon, Redbook, and the New York Post. She lives in New York.

Photograph by Cristina Calvi.

#BookReview On Point by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress

#BookReview On Point by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress Title: On Point

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #3

Published by: Carina Press on Jun. 5, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

Never fall for your best friend…

Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.

Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben’s still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he’s not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.

Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.

Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.


Review:

Heartfelt, engrossing, and red-hot!

This is a friends-to-more romance that is told from two different points of view. Maddox, a sweet, handsome Seal who prefers the simple life outside the military, including spending quality time with friends and baking yummy treats. And Ben, a fun, flirty Seal who loves nothing more than the adrenaline and action of the Navy and hooking up as much as possible. But like most of Albert’s characters there’s a lot more to these men than meets the eye and something deliciously scorching is definitely smouldering below the surface.

The writing is impassioned and intense. The characters are multi-faceted, flawed and sexy. And the plot starts off with a bang and then continues steadily building, peeling back layer-by-layer all the history, feelings and emotions to create a steamy, passionate story about life, love, friendship, undeniable chemistry, and self-discovery.

I have to admit this is my favourite book in the “Out of Uniform” series so far. I couldn’t wait to read about these two characters and I wasn’t disappointed.

This is the third novel in the “Out of Uniform” series. Be sure to check out my review for Off Base (Out of Uniform #1) and At Attention (Out of Uniform #2).

         

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

            

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Carina Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Annabeth Albert

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

#BookReview Off Base by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress

#BookReview Off Base by Annabeth Albert @AnnabethAlbert @CarinaPress Title: Off Base

Author: Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #1

Published by: Carina Press on Jan. 9, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 304

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.


Review:

Intriguing, romantic and heartwarming!

This is a contemporary romance story about military life, discovering one’s true self, and having the strength to follow one’s heart regardless of the consequences all wrapped up in a plot filled with flirty banter, sexual tension, chemistry, doubt, acceptance, harassment, friendship and love.

The writing is clear and precise. And the main characters are an alluring mix of an uncertain, strong, hunky Navy Seal and a fun-loving, charming professor who loves to tease. 

Overall, I would have to say this is an encouraging, lighthearted story with endearing characters that will captivate you from the very beginning.

This is the first novel in the new “Out of Uniform” series by Annabeth Albert, and I look forward to reading At Attention (Out of Uniform #2), Apollo and Dylan’s story, due out later this year.

 

This book is due to be published on January 9, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

Amazon UK, Amazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoKoboBarnes & Noble

 

Thank you to Carina Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Annabeth Albert

Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

#BlogTour #BookReview Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGarnderBks @arrowpublishing #BeforeSheDisappeared

#BlogTour #BookReview Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGarnderBks @arrowpublishing #BeforeSheDisappeared Title: Before She Disappeared

Author: Lisa Gardner

Published by: Century on Jan. 21, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Arrow Publishing

Book Rating: 9/10

Frankie Elkin has dedicated her life to doing what no one else will: searching for missing people the world has forgotten.

When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking. She has found fourteen victims to date, but none yet alive. Traveling from city to city with more regrets than belongings, Frankie is drawn to a new case in Boston, and to a neighbourhood with a rough reputation.

Angelique Badeau, a local teenager and Haitian immigrant, vanished eleven months ago in the middle of the day from her high school.  No scrap of surveillance footage, no cell phone tracking; 
Angelique simply disappeared.

Despite resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family, Frankie starts to unpick the truth of Angelique’s disappearance and starts to discover there are those that don’t want these questions answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to find Angelique and bring her home, even if it means the next person to go missing will be herself …


Review:

Charged, absorbing, and suspenseful!

Before She Disappeared is a well-paced, menacing thrill ride that takes us into the life of Frankie Elkin, a scarred, middle-aged woman who even while struggling with a past littered with grief, addiction, and heartbreak, travels from place to place identifying and pursuing new evidence in cold cases, but this latest investigation may have the highest odds yet with a missing teenage victim who may still be alive and the people who took her more than willing to kill to keep her.

The writing is sharp and meticulous. The characters are determined, ruthless, and resourceful. And the plot is a mysterious, compelling web of deduction, lies, exploitation, corruption, greed, violence, manipulation, and murder.

Before She Disappeared is another sophisticated, gritty, unnerving read by Gardner that may be the first standalone novel she’s written in a while but still has all the twists, turns, suspense, in-depth character development, and forensic analysis we’ve come to expect and love from all her previous novels.

This book is available on Jan. 21, 2021.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

               

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House UK – Arrow Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lisa Gardner

New York Times bestselling crime novelist Lisa Gardner began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has parlayed her interest in police procedure, cutting edge forensics and twisted plots into a streak of eleven bestselling suspense novels.

Lisa lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family, as well as two highly spoiled dogs and one extremely neurotic three-legged cat. Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in international relations.

 

#BookReview Don’t Look Back by Christie Craig (Texas Justice #3) by Christie Craig @Christie_Craig @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever20 #ChristieCraig #TexasJusticeSeries #DontLookBack

#BookReview Don’t Look Back by Christie Craig (Texas Justice #3) by Christie Craig @Christie_Craig @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #Forever20 #ChristieCraig #TexasJusticeSeries #DontLookBack Title: Don't Look Back

Author: Christie Craig

Series: Texas Justice #3

Published by: Forever on Dec. 15, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 10/10

New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig’s thrilling romantic suspense about a by-the-book FBI agent who must trust a risk-taking detective for help tracking down her sister’s killers — perfect for fans of Kat Martin, Sharon Sala, and Brenda Novak!

FBI agent Brie Ryan’s latest mission is personal. She’s posing as a waitress at the Black Diamond strip club, the same club where her estranged half sister worked until she turned up dead. When Brie’s undercover assignment is compromised, she turns to the only man she knows who can help her: Connor Pierce, a too-sexy-for-his-own-good, rule-breaking cop with a knack for solving cold cases.

When someone breaks into Brie’s apartment, Connor’s detective skills aren’t the only things that kick into overdrive. Although his job demands he remain detached, now he finds himself tempted not only by Brie’s beauty but also her intelligence and bravery. As the investigation-and their attraction-grows more intense, lives are in jeopardy, and Connor finds the most important rule he must break is his own. But can he put his heart on the line?


Review:

Suspenseful, absorbing, and action-packed!

Don’t Look Back is a charged, alluring, pacey thriller that sees FBI agent Brie Ryan working with Anniston Detective Connor Pierce to investigate a possible human trafficking ring operating out of the local strip club and the senseless murder of her estranged half-sister.

The prose is sharp and crisp. The characters are driven, scarred, supportive, and stubborn. And the plot is an ominous, passionate tale filled with twists, turns, familial drama, police corruption, mayhem, abuse, secrets, danger, sizzling attraction, violence, romance, and murder.

So one of the things I use to determine if a book is a 5-star read is how well it holds my attention and when it came to Don’t Look Back, I couldn’t put it down. In fact, halfway through I declared it was going to be a get your own dinner night, to the grumbles of my family, as nothing else was getting done until I finished it. I literally devoured it in one sitting over one afternoon and just kept asking myself several things. Why have I not read this author or series before? Is it too late to put the first two books on my Christmas list? Will my local bookstore carry them?

As you know I never like to give too much away in terms of the plot in my reviews as I always think a book is better if you go into it without expectations but what I will say, in case you haven’t guessed, is I absolutely loved this book, Christie Craig has a new fan, and if you get a chance and love romantic suspense you really need to read this book!

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Forever and Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Christie Craig

Christie Craig is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-nine books. She is an Alabama native, a motivational speaker, and a writing teacher, who currently hangs her hat in Texas. When she’s not writing romance, she’s travelling, sipping wine, or penning bestselling young adult novels as C.C. Hunter.

Photograph courtesy of read-forever.com

#BookReview Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten @EAlpsten_Author @StMartinsPress #Tsarina #EllenAlpsten

#BookReview Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten @EAlpsten_Author @StMartinsPress #Tsarina #EllenAlpsten Title: Tsarina

Author: Ellen Alpsten

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 496

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

St. Petersburg, 1725. Peter the Great lies dying in his magnificent Winter Palace. The weakness and treachery of his only son has driven his father to an appalling act of cruelty and left the empire without an heir. Russia risks falling into chaos. Into the void steps the woman who has been by his side for decades: his second wife, Catherine Alexeyevna, as ambitious, ruthless and passionate as Peter himself.

Born into devastating poverty, Catherine used her extraordinary beauty and shrewd intelligence to ingratiate herself with Peter’s powerful generals, finally seducing the Tsar himself. But even amongst the splendor and opulence of her new life—the lavish feasts, glittering jewels, and candle-lit hours in Peter’s bedchamber—she knows the peril of her position. Peter’s attentions are fickle and his rages powerful; his first wife is condemned to a prison cell, her lover impaled alive in Red Square. And now Catherine faces the ultimate test: can she keep the Tsar’s death a secret as she plays a lethal game to destroy her enemies and take the Crown for herself?

From the sensuous pleasures of a decadent aristocracy, to the incense-filled rites of the Orthodox Church and the terror of Peter’s torture chambers, the intoxicating and dangerous world of Imperial Russia is brought to vivid life. Tsarina is the story of one remarkable woman whose bid for power would transform the Russian Empire.”


Review:

Fascinating, insightful, and engaging!

Tsarina is an intriguing interpretation of the rags-to-riches, extraordinary life of Marta Helena Skowrońska (Catherine I of Russia), who started life as the illegitimate child of a peasant and was subsequently sold into slavery, widowed, and sexually violated before becoming the mistress of Peter the Great, and later his wife and successor to the Russian throne, holding the title of Empress of Russia until her untimely death in 1727.

The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are bold, remorseless, and well-drawn. And the plot is an absorbing, sweeping saga of all the hopes, fears, sacrifices, struggles, treachery and entangled relationships found in one of the most powerful families to ever rule the Russian Empire.

Tsarina is, ultimately, a story about life, loss, love, politics, power, war, corruption, greed, riches, fervour, desires, sacrifice, savagery, violence, and murder. It’s a perceptive, alluring, compelling tale by Alpsten that does a beautiful job of highlighting her impressive research and considerable knowledge into the infamous Romanov family, especially those who reigned in the late seventeenth, early eighteenth century and their undeniable influence on Russian history.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ellen Alpsten

ELLEN ALPSTEN was born and raised in the Kenyan highlands. Upon graduating from L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, she worked as a news anchor for Bloomberg TV London. Whilst working gruesome night shifts on breakfast TV, she started to write in earnest, every day, after work and a nap. Today, Ellen works as an author and as a journalist for international publications such as Vogue, Standpoint and CN Traveller. She lives in London with her husband, three sons and a moody fox red Labrador. Tsarina is her debut novel.

Photograph by Andreas Stirnberg.

#BookReview Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent @lizzienugent @SimonSchusterCA #LittleCruelties #LizNugent

#BookReview Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent @lizzienugent @SimonSchusterCA #LittleCruelties #LizNugent Title: Little Cruelties

Author: Liz Nugent

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Nov. 10, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

All three of the Drumm brothers were at the funeral.
Only one of us was in the coffin.

William, Brian, and Luke: three boys bound by blood but split by fate, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do…yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games—those little cruelties—grow more sinister, more merciless, more dangerous. And with their lives entwined like the strands of a noose, only two of the brothers will survive.

Crisply written and quickly paced, perfect for readers of both sophisticated literary fiction and breathtaking suspense, Little Cruelties gazes unflinchingly into the darkness: the darkness collecting in the corners of childhood homes, hiding beneath marriage beds, clasped in the palms of two brothers shaking hands. And it confirms Liz Nugent, whose novels have been celebrated as “captivating” (People) and “highly entertaining” (The Washington Post), as one of the most exciting, perceptive voices in contemporary fiction.


Review:

Tragic, intricate, and twisty!

Little Cruelties is a dark, compelling, character-driven, domestic thriller that takes you into the lives of three brothers, Wiliam, an arrogant film producer, Brian, an unmotivated leach, and Luke, an emotionally fragile pop star as they each grapple with sibling rivalry, enduring jealousy, devastating secrets, and exceptionally cruel decisions that will change their lives forever.

The prose is tight and intense. The characters are selfish, deceptive, and troubled. And the plot told from multiple perspectives unfolds gradually into a murky tale full of twists, turns, surprises, familial drama, lies, greed, resentments, scandal, wickedness, deception, tragedy, and murder.

Overall, Little Cruelties is another sophisticated, creepy, gloomy tale by Nugent that does a fantastic job of delving into all the complex, dysfunctional dynamics that can occur between family members and reminds us just how evil and toxic some of these relationships can truly be.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent has worked in Irish film, theater, and television for most of her adult life. She is an award-winning writer of radio and television drama and has written critically acclaimed short stories both for children and adults, as well as the novels Unraveling Oliver and Lying in Wait. She lives in Dublin.

Photograph by Beta Bajgartova.

#BookReview If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin @tinycharlotte72 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #IfICantHaveYou #CharlotteLevin

#BookReview If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin @tinycharlotte72 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #IfICantHaveYou #CharlotteLevin Title: If I Can't Have You

Author: Charlotte Levin

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Aug. 25, 2020

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

If I Can’t Have You by Charlotte Levin is an all-consuming novel about loneliness, obsession and how far we go for the ones we love.

What if the problem with your love life is you?

Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for. You.Happiness, at last.

Then you left me.

And now I am alone.

Everyone I love leaves in the end.

But not this time.

I’m not giving up on us.

I’m not giving up on you.

When you love someone, you never let them go. That’s why for me, this is just beginning.


Review:

Cunning, compulsive, and unsettling!

If I Can’t Have You is an addictive, sinister, character-driven tale that takes you into the life of Constance Little, a lonely, fragile, young woman whose life quickly spins out of control after the tragic loss of her mother causes her to seek attention, affection and love from all the wrong places.

The prose is tight and tense. The characters are impulsive, vulnerable, and troubled. And the plot told through retrospective first-person narration is a slow-burning, creepy yet heartbreaking tale of life, loss, love, desperation, deception, jealousy, manipulation, anger, hatred, obsession, and emotional volatility.

Overall, If I Can’t Have You is a gripping, nuanced, fantastic debut by Levin that does a remarkable job of reminding us that love is not just lightness and joy but also sometimes extremely dark and dangerous.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Charlotte Levin

Charlotte Levin has been shortlisted for the Andrea Badenoch Award, part of the New Writers North Awards, and for the Mslexia Short Story Competition. Charlotte lives in Manchester and If I Can't Have You is her first novel.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BlogTour #BookReview How to Date a Younger Man by Kendall Ryan @KendallRyan1

#BlogTour #BookReview How to Date a Younger Man by Kendall Ryan @KendallRyan1 Title: How to Date a Younger Man

Author: Kendall Ryan

Published by: Dream Press on Jul. 20, 2020

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Kendall Ryan

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Tips for Surviving a Fling with a Sexy Younger Man

First, you’d think as a thirty-something-year-old woman, I’d be immune to Griffin’s flirty comments and six-pack abs. You’d think that his carefree playboy attitude, or the fact that he’s still finishing grad school, would deter me.

You’d be wrong.

If you accidentally bang your best friend’s younger brother, here are a few important tips . . .

One: Do not brag to your friend about how well-endowed her brother is.

Two: Do not go back for seconds (or thirds).

Three: Do not let him see your muffin top or jiggly behind. And definitely don’t let him feed you cookies in bed. Cookies are bad. Remember that.

Four: Act like a damn grown-up and apologize for riding him like a bull at the rodeo. And do not flirt with him when he laughs at said apology.

Five: This one is crucial, so pay attention.

Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him.


Review:

Charming, flirty, and sweet!

How to Date a Younger Man is a frisky, amusing, sexy tale that features the successful, independent Layne who’s determined not to fall for her best friend’s younger brother with the irresistible hands, and the chivalrous, reliable Griffin who is patiently waiting on the sidelines until he’s finally ready to take the risk and act on his feelings for his sister’s best friend.

The writing is witty and crisp. The characters are generous, fun-loving, and supportive. And the plot is an alluring blend of heat, heart, hope, humour, drama, exquisite tension, smouldering chemistry, sassy dialogue, unconditional friendship, and true love. 

Overall, How to Date a Younger Man is a light, steamy, playful read by Ryan complete with heartfelt moments, engaging storyline, swoony happy-ever-after ending, and cover that’s deliciously appealing.

 

This book is available on July 21, 2020.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

Thank you to Kendall Ryan for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
 

About Kendall Ryan

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

 

 

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