Book Review

A book review is a summary of my thoughts, feelings, and impression of a book.

#BookReview
Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg
@randomhouse

#BookReview Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg @randomhouseTitle: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Series: Arthur Truluv #2

Published by: Random House on November 13, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

A delightful novel about surprising friendships, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change a life, from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community–just when they need it the most.


Review:

Honest, pensive, and affecting!

Night of miracles takes us back to the small town of Mason, Missouri and into the lives of many, including Lucille Howard who’s still teaching people to bake, befriending those who are lonely, and selflessly helping those in need; Iris, a middle-aged woman, struggling to move on after a recent divorce; Tiny, a large man with no confidence and courage; and Abby, a young mother battling for her life against a relentless disease.

The prose is vivid and sincere. The characters are complex, genuine, and engaging. And the absorbing, astute plot takes us on a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride of love, loss, friendship, family, community, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and companionship.

Overall, Night of miracles is another beautifully written tale by Berg that made my heart fill with joy and burst with heartbreak. It’s a perceptive, sentimental, poetic tale that reminds us that life is not only about the highs and lows but also all those quieter moments in between.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Photo by Joyce Ravid

#BlogTour #BookReview
Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop
by Portia MacIntosh @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUK

#BlogTour #BookReview Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop by Portia MacIntosh @PortiaMacIntosh @HQDigitalUKTitle: Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Published by: HQ Digital on October 8, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 208

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Blast the Michael Bublé, wrap your hands around a cinnamon latte and enjoy this warm, hilarious Christmas novel!

Ivy loves Christmas. As owner of Christmas Every Day, the year-round festive store, you’d expect nothing less!

The only thing missing in Ivy’s life is a dash of romance – something her twin sister Holly will not let her forget…

When her mother passed away, Ivy vowed to take over the running of her mother’s store and keep the Christmas spirit alive in the idyllic seaside town of Marram Bay.

But all this changes when an enigmatic businessman moves to the town, threatening to bulldoze her beloved shop to make way for holiday complex.

Can Ivy save her shop before Christmas? Could there be a different side to the newest resident of Marram Bay that would make all her Christmas wishes come true?


Review:

Jolly, big-hearted, and delightfully fabulous!

Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop is an amusing, heartwarming tale that takes us back to Marram Bay and into the life of the thoughtful, optimistic Ivy Jones as she struggles to keep her mother’s Christmas shop alive and out of the hands of the mysterious, yet charmingly handsome businessman who’s suddenly moved to town.

The prose is polished and effortless. The characterization is spot on with a cast of characters that are unique, fun-loving, and adorable. And the plot is an irresistible blend of heart, humour, nostalgic moments, family, friendship, tension, loyalty, attraction, chemistry, wonderful shenanigans, community spirit, and Christmas cheer.

Overall, Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop is nothing short of magic. It’s a light, funny, wintery treat that’s deliciously absorbing and hands down one of my favourite holiday reads of the year!

 

This book is available now.

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

                                 

 

 

Thank you to Portia MacIntosh and HQ Digital for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh has been 'making stuff up' for as long as she can remember - or so she says. Whether it was blaming her siblings for that broken vase when she was growing up, blagging her way backstage during her rock chick phase or, most recently, whatever justification she can fabricate to explain away those lunchtime cocktails, Portia just loves telling tales. After years working as a music journalist, Portia decided it was time to use her powers for good and started writing novels. Taking inspiration from her experiences on tour with bands, the real struggle of dating in your twenties and just trying to survive as an adult human female generally, Portia writes about what it's really like for women who don't find this life stuff as easy as it seems.

 

#BookReview
Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter
@genashowalter @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter @genashowalter @HarlequinBooksTitle: Shadow and Ice

Author: Gena Showalter

Series: Gods of War #1

Published by: HQN Books on October 23, 2018

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 496

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.


Review:

Fierce, seductive, and savagely action packed!

Shadow and Ice is a riveting, at times shocking tale that introduces us to Vale London and her sister, Nola, two young women stranded in the Arctic who inadvertently stumble upon warriors from the fight-until-death, All War battle who have been frozen for 1,400 years, until now.

The prose is intense and intricate. The characters are unique, remorseless, and scarred. And the plot is an imaginative, compelling tale of supernatural abilities, magnificent weapons, sizzling chemistry, brutal violence, loyalty, humour, romance, and murder.

I have to say Shadow and Ice is like taking Hunger Games, Marvel Super Heroes, Gladiator, and a slice of mythology and mixing them all together. It’s an epic saga featuring lots of bloody battles, grit, determination, gore, sexual tension, heat, adventure, and fantastical elements that is without a doubt suspenseful, violent, steamy, and thoroughly entertaining.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                          

 

 

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

 

About Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Dreaming of Christmas by T.A. Williams
@TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co

#BlogTour #BookReview Dreaming of Christmas by T.A. Williams @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co

#BlogTour #BookReview Dreaming of Christmas by T.A. Williams @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_coTitle: Dreaming of Christmas

Author: T.A. Williams

Published by: Canelo on August 27, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 234

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Canelo, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s the dream Christmas: snow, mountains… and, er, an ex-boyfriend. But can Zoe still find love in the Alps?

Dumped on Christmas Eve by her long-term boyfriend, it’s been a rough year for Zoe Lumsley. But then she gets an invitation she can’t refuse: an all expenses paid skiing holiday with old university friends.

The bad news: her ex, Grant, will be there with his new girlfriend. But so will her former flatmate Billy, the organiser, and in the meantime he’s done rather well for himself. As Christmas in the Alps approaches, it’ll be great to see the old gang. Some more than others…

Perfect for readers of Tilly Tenant, Holly Martin and Philippa Ashley, this is the perfect magical Christmas getaway from the bestselling T.A. Williams.


Review:

Amusing, engaging, and delightfully entertaining!

In this latest novel, Dreaming of Christmas, Williams sweeps us away to a wintery paradise where the snow is falling, the accommodations are luxurious, the food is scrumptious, the skiing is magnificent, and love might actually be in the air.

The prose is atmospheric and well turned. The characters are unique, troubled, friendly, and multi-layered. And the story is a compelling tale full of exciting adventures, heartfelt moments, self-discovery, friendship, relationship woes, happiness, romance, and a whole lot of Christmas cheer!

Overall, Dreaming of Christmas is another charming, beautifully descriptive tale by Williams that’s the perfect choice for any chilly afternoon spent in front of the fire with a steaming mug of hot chocolate!

 

This book is available now.

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

                              

 

 

Thank you to T.A. Williams and Canelo for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About T.A. Williams

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing.

 

#BookReview
The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton
@LinnBHalton @HarperImpulse

#BookReview The Secrets of Villa Rosso by Linn B. Halton @LinnBHalton @HarperImpulseTitle: The Secrets of Villa Rosso

Author: Linn B. Halton

Published by: HarperImpulse on July 21, 2017

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 401

Format: Paperback

Source: Linn B. Halton

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Some places stay with you forever…

When Ellie Maddison is sent on a business trip to Southern Italy, she’s reminded why she loves her job – set amongst rolling vineyards and rich olive groves, the beautiful Villa Rosso is the perfect escape from her life back home. But what Ellie isn’t prepared for is the instant connection she feels to the estate’s director Max Johnson, or the secrets they share that are as intertwined as the rambling vines that cover Villa Rosso. It’s not long before Ellie finds herself entangled in the history of the place, trying to understand the undeniable effect Max is having on her. As their relationship grows, what will Ellie discover about this idyllic villa and those who have walked through its doors? What started as a simple work trip will change Ellie’s life forever.


Review:

Vivid, heartwarming, and magical!

The Secrets of Villa Rosso is the enchanting, thought-provoking story of Ellie, a happily married, middle-aged woman whose life gets turned upside down after a quick, unexpected business trip to Itay leaves her pondering the inexplicable connection she feels to the villa, the country, and the director of the estate, Max, and has her questioning whether it’s possible to have two soul mates in one lifetime.

The writing is sincere and reflective. The characters are kindhearted, loyal, and appealing. And the plot sweeps you away into an engaging, heartfelt tale of family, friendship, community, self-discovery, obligation, life, love, mystery, and the intricacies of interior design.

Overall, The Secrets of Villa Rosso is a sweet, emotional tale with a picturesque backdrop, a little mystery, and an authentic feel that will leave you dreaming of sunshine and olive trees and have you contemplating the real power of karma and fate.

 

This book is available now. 

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

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Linn B. Halton for sending me a copy as part of a giveaway.

 

About Linn B. Halton

From interior designer to author, Linn - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

#BookReview
False Witness by Michelle Davies
@M_Davieswrites @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview False Witness by Michelle Davies @M_Davieswrites @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: False Witness

Author: Michelle Davies

Series: DC Maggie Neville #3

Published by: Pan Macmillan on November 1, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

It began with a lie . . .

Two children are seen on top of a wall in a school.

Shortly later one of them lies fatally injured at the bottom.

Did the boy fall or was he pushed?
As a family liaison offer, DC Maggie Neville has seen parents crumble under the weight of their child’s death. Imogen Tyler is no different. Her son’s fall was witnessed by the school caretaker and another pupil is under suspicion/being questioned, but Imogen is paralysed by questions. Why was he at the school so early? Why was he with a girl who wasn’t a friend?
For Maggie, finding the answers to these questions is paramount if she is to help the mother. But as she investigates, further questions emerge and the truth suddenly seems far from certain. Could the witness be mistaken about what happened and if he is, then who is responsible? And how far will they go to cover up the boy’s death?


Review:

Sinister, relentless, and unpredictable!

In this latest novel in the DC Maggie Neville series, False Witness, Davies immerses us in an emotional case involving the death of a young boy that may or may not be an accident, on school grounds that may or may not be used for illegal extracurricular activity after dark, and involving two families who may or may not have a long, complicated history.

The writing is sharp and tight. The characters are secretive, impulsive and troubled. And the intricate plot, told from differing points-of-view, keeps you engrossed from start to finish with all its twists, turns, deception, revelations, corruption, power, violence, and murder.

I have to say this series keeps getting better and better. False Witness is a perfectly paced, entertaining whodunit that has all the elements you look for in a thrilling mystery, along with a touch of authenticity not always found in police procedurals that will undoubtedly keep you riveted and eager for more.

 

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 Michelle Davies

Michelle Davies has been writing professionally for twenty years as a journalist for magazines, including on the production desk at ELLE, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine and she currently writes for a number of women's magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle is also a crime fiction reviewer for the Books section of the Sunday Express. Michelle lives in London, England and juggles her freelance journalism with motherhood and writing crime fiction.

 

 

#BookReview
Love in Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson
@AuthorBJackson @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Love in Catalina Cove by Brenda Jackson @AuthorBJackson @HarlequinBooksTitle: Love in Catalina Cove

Author: Brenda Jackson

Series: Catalina Cove #1

Published by: HQN Books on October 30, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

Synopsis:

In her brand-new series, Brenda Jackson welcomes you to Catalina Cove, where even the biggest heartbreaks can be healed…

In the wake of a devastating teen pregnancy that left her childless and heartbroken, Vashti Alcindor left Catalina Cove, Louisiana, with no plans to return. Now, over a decade later, Vashti reluctantly finds herself back in her hometown after inheriting her aunt’s B and B. Her homecoming gets off to a rocky start when the new sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, pulls her over for speeding, and things go downhill from there.

The B and B, a place she’d always found refuge in when it seemed like the whole world was against her, has fallen into disrepair. When a surprising benefactor encourages Vashti to reopen the B and B, Vashti embraces a fresh start, and soon old hurts begin to fade as she makes new memories with the town—and its handsome sheriff…

But some pasts are too big to escape, and when a bombshell of a secret changes everything she thought was true, Vashti is left reeling. With Sawyer and his teenage daughter determined to see her through the storm, though, she’s learning family isn’t always a matter of blood—sometimes it’s a matter of heart.


Review:

Dramatic, romantic, and uplifting!

Love in Catalina Cove is an engaging, lighthearted read that takes us to coastal Louisiana and into the life of Vashti Alcindor as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, including a recent divorce, being laid off, reopening her aunt’s B&B, a blossoming courtship, and returning to the hometown that shunned her following a teen pregnancy.

The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are strong, confident, and dependable. And the plot, although a little slow to start, is a heartwarming tale with a sliver of mystery that’s full of tricky situations, tender moments, self-discovery, friendship, family, community, acceptance, revelations, happiness, slow-burning romance, and scrumptious blueberry delights.

Overall, Love in Catalina Cove is a passionate, heartfelt start to this new series by Jackson that has a large, intriguing cast of characters that I look forward to reading more about in Forget Me Not (Catalina Cove #2) due to be published in Spring 2019.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than one hundred romance titles. Brenda lives in Jacksonville, Florida, and divides her time between family, writing and traveling.

#BookReview
The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Christmas Lights by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Christmas Lights

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on October 30, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Set on the scenic fjords of Norway, The Christmas Lights by bestselling author Karen Swan is a moving Christmas tale of love and heartbreak.

December 2018, and free-spirited Influencers Bo Loxley and her partner Zac are living a life of wanderlust, travelling the globe and sharing their adventures with their millions of fans. Booked to spend Christmas in the Norwegian fjords, they set up home in a remote farm owned by enigmatic mountain guide Anders and his fierce grandmother Signy. Surrounded by snowy peaks and frozen falls, everything should be perfect. But the camera can lie and with every new post, the ‘perfect’ life Zac and Bo are portraying is diverging from the truth. Something Bo can’t explain is wrong at the very heart of their lives and Anders is the only person who’ll listen.

June 1936, and fourteen-year old Signy is sent with her sister and village friends to the summer pastures to work as milkmaids, protecting the herd that will sustain the farm through the long, winter months. But miles from home and away from the safety of their families, threat begins to lurk in friendly faces . . .

The mountains keep secrets – Signy knows this better than anyone – and as Bo’s life begins to spiral she is forced, like the old woman before her, to question who is friend and who is foe.


Review:

Alluring, mysterious, and delightfully festive!

The Christmas Lights is an atmospheric, compelling tale set in Norway during 1936, as well as the present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Bo, a young reality star unnerved by an obsessed, online stalker and struggling to enjoy a life that lacks privacy, and Signy a sweet, country girl who learns at a young age the dangers that hide on the hills she loves and amongst the animals that grace them.

The writing is smooth, crisp, and vivid. The characters are a mix of kind, endearing, self-indulgent, and exasperating. And the plot is an entertaining mix of heart, hope, angst, mystery, and drama.

The Christmas Lights is, ultimately, a story about relationships, adventure, heartbreak, secrets, expectations, love, obsession, and discovering one’s true self that highlights just how susceptible and vulnerable social media can make us. It’s a beautiful, picture postcard of the frozen terrain, rugged mountains, and breathtaking Northern Lights of the fjords of Norway, and is a charming holiday read complete with a sliver of mystique.

 

This novel 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 Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview
The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos
@r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos @r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Published by: Atria Books on October 30, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.


Review:

Evocative, absorbing, and incredibly affecting!

The Girl They Left Behind is a powerful, riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged and oppressed by war and then forced to endure economic instability, political upheaval, social injustice, and lack of freedoms under Stalinist rule.

The prose is poetic and enchanting. The characters are multi-layered, resilient, and vulnerable. And the plot, set in Romania during the mid-1900s, is a profoundly moving tale about war, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, suspicion, desperation, resilience, courage, coming of age, and hope.

Overall, The Girl They Left Behind is the perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heart-wrenching, and impactful and does a remarkable job of highlighting not only the indomitable spirit of humanity to endure, survive, conquer, and even love under even the most atrocious of circumstances but also Veletzos’ passion for her maternal heritage.

 

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 Roxanne Veletzos

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and has worked as an editor, content writer, and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies.

Photograph by Eric Lindstrom.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Go To My Grave by Catriona McPherson
@CatrionaMcP @MinotaurBooks

#BlogTour #BookReview Go To My Grave by Catriona McPherson @CatrionaMcP @MinotaurBooksTitle: Go To My Grave

Author: Catriona McPherson

Published by: Minotaur Books on October 23, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Minotaur Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Donna Weaver has put everything she has into restoring The Breakers, an old bed and breakfast on a remote stretch of beach in Galloway. Now it sits waiting—freshly painted, richly furnished, filled with flowers—for the first guests to arrive.

But Donna’s guests, a contentious group of estranged cousins, soon realize that they’ve been here before, years ago. Decades have passed, but that night still haunts them: a sixteenth birthday party that started with peach schnapps and ended with a girl walking into the sea.

Each of them had made a vow of silence: “lock it in a box, stitch my lips, and go to my grave.”

But now someone has broken the pact. Amid the home-baked scones and lavish rooms, someone is playing games, locking boxes, stitching lips. And before the weekend is over, at least one of them will go to their grave.


Review:

Atmospheric, menacing, and twisty!

Go To My Grave is an ominous, character-driven thriller that delves into the complex dynamics between friends and family and highlights just how parasitic some of those relationships can truly be.

The prose is gritty and taut. The characters are deceptive, plagued, and self-involved. And the plot using a back-and-forth, past/present style does a nice job of building tension as it unfolds a tortuous tale of friendship, lies, secrets, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, revenge, violence, and murder.

There is no doubt that McPherson can weave a suspicious tale that’s dark, gloomy, and tragic and highlights the scheming, selfish, dark side of human nature. And even though I thought the storyline itself was quite clever, unfortunately for me the lack of characters with any sort of moral or ethical conscience in Go To My Grave made it a little hard to like, connect, or even want to root for any of them.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

Excerpt:

Prologue

This is the story of three days last September when eight old friends gathered in a beautiful house by the sea. There was food, wine and laughter, and then the friends went their separate ways. That’s the truth and nothing but the truth. The story is over. We have locked the box, swallowed the key and stitched our lips shut. Will that be enough? I don’t know. It took twenty-five years, after last time, for the stitches to unravel, the key to burn through our guts, the box to rust and weaken. But this time’s different. There’s so much more to lose. I can’t speak for the others but I’ll keep this secret and go to my grave.

 

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

 

About Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in South Queensferry. After finishing school, she worked in a bank for a short time, before going to university. She studied for an MA in English Language and Linguistics at Edinburgh University, and then gained a job in the local studies department at Edinburgh City Libraries. She left this post after a couple of years, and went back to university to study for a PhD in semantics. During her final year she applied for an academic job, but left to begin a writing career.

These days, McPherson lives with her husband on a farm in the Galloway countryside, where she spends her time writing, gardening, swimming and running.

 

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