Book Review

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

#BookReview
The Long Call (Two Rivers #1)
by Ann Cleeves @AnnCleeves @PGCBooks
@panmacmillan @headcrime #thelongcall

#BookReview The Long Call (Two Rivers #1) by Ann Cleeves @AnnCleeves @PGCBooks @panmacmillan @headcrime #thelongcallTitle: The Long Call

Author: Ann Cleeves

Series: Two Rivers #1

Published by: Pan Macmillan on September 3, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling author of the Shetland and Vera Stanhope series’, Ann Cleeves returns with the first in a brand-new series set in North Devon and featuring Detective Matthew Venn. In this rural idyll, where two rivers meet, crime is always there waiting to rise from the water.

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too.

Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region; a complex place not quite as idyllic as tourists suppose.

A body has been found on the beach near to Matthew’s new home: a man with the tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

Finding the killer is Venn’s only focus, and his team’s investigation will take him straight back into the community he left behind, and the deadly secrets that lurk there.


Review:

Simmering, menacing, and clever!

The Long Call is the kickoff for a brand-new series by Cleeves that sweeps you away to North Devon where the reticent, intelligent, DI Matthew Vern finds himself investigating a complicated case involving a stabbing victim with a bird tattoo, two missing girls, a community centre that hits a little too close to home, and an evangelical Brethren that excommunicated him in the past.

The prose is meticulous and crisp. The characters are methodical, relentless, and flawed. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine into a mysterious tale filled with mixed emotions, deception, abuse, manipulation, corruption, red herrings, and murder.

Overall, The Long Call is a well-paced, pensive, sophisticated thriller by Cleeves that’s a brilliant start to the Two Rivers series and another fine example of her ability to write police procedurals with well-drawn characters and sinister storylines.

 

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 Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves is the author behind PBS’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on screen and in print. Her books have now sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before becoming a crime writer. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland series, and in 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame. Ann lives in North Tyneside, England.

#BookReview
The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester
@Natasha_Lester @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanada

#BookReview The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester @Natasha_Lester @GrandCentralPub @HBGCanadaTitle: The Paris Orphan

Author: Natasha Lester

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on September 3, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help give a little girl the one thing she’s never had–a family–in this gripping historical fiction from the internationally bestselling author of The Paris Seamstress.
 
New York City/Paris, 1942: When American model Jessica May arrives in Europe to cover the war as a photojournalist for Vogue, most of the soldiers are determined to make her life as difficult as possible. But three friendships change that. Journalist Martha Gellhorn encourages Jess to bend the rules. Captain Dan Hallworth keeps her safe in dangerous places so she can capture the stories that truly matter. And most important of all, the love of a little orphan named Victorine gives Jess strength to do the impossible. But her success will come at a price…
 
France, 2005: Decades after World War II, D’Arcy Hallworth arrives at a beautiful chateau to curate a collection of famous wartime photos by a reclusive artist. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but D’Arcy has no idea that this job will uncover decades of secrets that, once revealed, will change everything she thought she knew about her mother, Victorine, and alter D’Arcy’s life forever.

Review:

Poignant, heartbreaking, and enthralling!

The Paris Orphan is an absorbing, emotive tale predominantly set in France during 1942, as well as 2005, that is told primarily from two different perspectives; Jessica May, a young model turned photojournalist who journeys to Europe to document the real dangers, consequences, and atrocities of war; and Darcy Hallworth, a young art handler who inadvertently stumbles upon a family history littered with secrets and sacrifices while preparing a collection of photographs for an Australian exhibit.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are brave, resilient, and determined. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive blend of drama, mystique, emotion, secrets, love, loss, courage, passion, heartbreak, as well as an insightful look at the struggles faced by female correspondents during WWII, and the importance of friendships.

Overall, The Paris Orphan is a wonderful blend of historical facts and alluring fiction that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you never want it to end. It is without a doubt one of my favourite novels of the year and is another fine example of Lester’s extraordinary talent as a remarkable researcher and memorable storyteller.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Natasha Lester

Natasha Lester is a USA Today, internationally best-selling author. Prior to writing, she worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing.

Her first historical novel, the bestselling A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, was published in 2016. This was followed by Her Mother’s Secret in 2017 and The Paris Seamstress in 2018. The French Photographer is her latest book (note: this will be published as The Paris Orphan in North America in September 2019).

Natasha's books have been published in the US, the UK, Australia and throughout Europe. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her 3 children and loves travelling, Paris, vintage fashion and, of course, books.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

#BlogTour #BookReview #ButterflyinFrost
Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day
@SylDay @AmazonPub @midaspr

#BlogTour #BookReview #ButterflyinFrost Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day @SylDay @AmazonPub @midasprTitle: Butterfly in Frost

Author: Sylvia Day

Published by: Montlake Romance on August 27, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 204

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Midas PR

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Teagan Ransom has finally settled in a place she can call home, spending time with new friends she adores, focusing on a fulfilling job, whilst reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

That is until Garrett Frost moves in next door. He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging and disruptive force of nature. Teagan recognizes the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. Tegan fears he could pull apart everything she has worked so hard to build, but Garrett’s too determined…and too tempting.

Emotional and heartrending, Butterfly in Frost marks a brilliant return by global sensation Sylvia Day, the No.1 international multimillion bestselling author of the Crossfire saga.


Review:

Quick, fervent, and surprising!

Butterfly in Frost is an emotionally-charged, erotic novella that takes you on a journey into the life of Teagan Ransom, a fragile, hesitant, plastic surgeon who finds herself inadvertently in the crosshairs of her sexy, secretive, new neighbour, Garrett Frost whose determined to sweep her off her feet.

The prose is seductive and tight. The characters are wounded, lonely, and hopeful. And the plot is a dramatic tale with a sliver of mystery that’s full of heartache, loss, guilt, grief, relationship dynamics, friendship, community, romance, explosive chemistry, and enduring love.

Overall, Butterfly in Frost is a sensual, emotive, uplifting tale that highlights the importance of letting go of the past, forgiving one’s self, taking chances, and moving on. And even though the plot seemed to move quite fast at times and could have been a bit longer to allow for some more depth in the characterization and storyline there’s a fantastic little twist that will almost certainly have you eager to start it all over again.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                      

 

 

Thank you to Midas PR and Montlake Romance for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sylvia Day

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels translated into 41 languages. With tens of millions of copies of her books in print, she is a No. 1 bestseller in 28 countries. Sylvia served as the 22nd President of Romance Writers of America and presently serves on the Authors Guild's Board of Directors. Sylvia's work has been covered in Time, Variety, People, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Associated Press, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

 

#BookReview
Honeymoon for One by Frankie Collins
@frankiecollins_ @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooks

#BookReview Honeymoon for One by Frankie Collins @frankiecollins_ @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooksTitle: Honeymoon for One

Author: Frankie Collins

Published by: Boldwood Books on August 6, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 344

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Boldwood Books

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When disaster strikes, paradise calls…

As a published novelist, Lila Rose has been writing about fictional weddings all her life. But disaster strikes on her own big day when she hears her philandering fiancé, Daniel whispering sweet nothings to someone else.

With her dream day shattered, all Lila wants to do is run and hide, so she decides to fly solo on her own honeymoon.

When Daniel arrives in the resort with his new squeeze, Lila strikes up a ‘showmance’ with hot new movie star, Freddie Bianchi. Freddie is perfect for the part and Lila soon relaxes into her leading lady role.

But as truth starts to merge with fiction, could real love be in the air?

A sizzling holiday romance, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Ranald’s Sorry Not Sorry.


Review:

Lush, provocative, and fun!

Honeymoon for One is a charming, uplifting tale that takes you into the life of the sweet, heartbroken Lila who after being bamboozled on her wedding day travels to the idyllic San Valentino couples resort where she embarks on a honeymoon alone that includes scrumptious food, delicious cocktails, unexpected visitors, and a neighbouring guest who is practically perfect.

The writing is crisp and light. The characters are charismatic, clever, and endearing. And the plot is an alluring tale full of life, love, heartbreak, friendship, introspection, palpable chemistry, hilarious games, sizzling drama, awkward mishaps, and steamy romance.

Overall, Honeymoon for One is a comical, passionate, engaging tale by Collins that will certainly make you smile, chuckle, and dreamily swoon.

 

This book is available now.

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

                       

 

 

Thank you to Boldwood Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Frankie Collins

Frankie Collins is the pseudonym of Portia MacIntosh, bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and The Accidental Honeymoon. Previously a music journalist, Frankie writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences. Frankie’s debut, Honeymoon For One, will be published in August 2019.

#BookReview
The Aussie Next Door by Stefanie London
@Stefanie_London @entangledpub

#BookReview The Aussie Next Door by Stefanie London @Stefanie_London @entangledpubTitle: The Aussie Next Door

Author: Stefanie London

Series: Patterson's Bluff #1

Published by: Entangled Publishing on August 27, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 350

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Entangled Publishing, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

American Angie Donovan has never wanted much. When you grow up getting bounced from foster home to foster home, you learn not to become attached to anything, anyone, or any place. But it only took her two days to fall in love with Australia. With her visa clock ticking, surely she can fall in love with an Australian—and get hitched—in two months. Especially if he’s as hot and funny as her next-door neighbour…

Jace Walters has never wanted much—except a bathroom he didn’t have to share. The last cookie all to himself. And solitude. But when you grow up in a family of seven, you can kiss those things goodbye. He’s finally living alone and working on his syndicated comic strip in privacy. Sure, his American neighbour is distractingly sexy and annoyingly nosy, but she’ll be gone in a few months…

Except now she’s determined to find her perfect match by checking out every eligible male in the town, and her choices are even more distracting. So why does it suddenly feel like he—and his obnoxious tight-knit family, and even these two wayward dogs—could be exactly what she needs?


Review:

Charming, Sweet, and Hopeful!

The Aussie Next Door is a heartwarming, humorous story that introduces us to Angie, a single, American, young woman who needs to get married but wants to fall in love; and Jace, a reclusive, handsome, cartoonist who prefers routines, order, and living alone.

The writing is light and authentic. The characters are genuine, intriguing, and supportive. And the plot is an appealing mix of friendship, family, compromise, independence, witty dialogue, awkward moments, tricky situations, swoon-worthy romance, and the intricacies of high-functioning autism.

Overall, The Aussie Next Door is a timely, fresh, uplifting tale by London that is a wonderful start to the Patterson’s Bluff series and an enticing introduction to the Walters family.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                           

 

 

Thank you to Stefanie London and Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Stefanie London

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Also llamas.

Originally from Melbourne, Australia Stefanie now lives in Toronto, Canada with her wonderful husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies and drink coffee.

Her bestselling book, Pretend It’s Love, is a 2016 Romantic Book of the Year finalist with the Romance Writers of Australia.

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge
by Julie Stock @wood_beez48 @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #GiveawayThe Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge by Julie Stock @wood_beez48 @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #GiveawayThe Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge by Julie Stock @wood_beez48 @rararesourcesTitle: The Bistro at Watersmeet Bridge

Author: Julie Stock

Published by: Clued Up Publishing on August 6, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 264

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When Olivia goes to manage Finn’s failing bistro, will they end up sharing a table for two, or will it be a recipe for disaster?

Olivia Fuller longs to manage one of the restaurants in her father’s chain and to break free to live the independent life she’s wanted for so long. When her father finally puts his trust in her and sends her to a failing restaurant in Devon, she’s confident she can prove herself capable of doing the job.

Finn Anderson is about to lose his beloved seaside bistro, unless the bank can find a buyer to dig him out. When George Fuller offers Finn a deal, he has no choice but to accept if he wants any chance of getting his bistro back one day. And then the new manager arrives…

Even after meeting the prickly chef and discovering his complete lack of business skills, 

Olivia is confident she can turn the struggling business round. But as Olivia and Finn start working together, a mutual attraction develops between them, and soon, nothing is going according to Olivia’s plan. 

When there’s a real chance that the bistro might be sold off, Olivia and Finn determine to fight for it, united by their hard work and their growing feelings for each other.

But can they save the bistro and be together, or does destiny have a different path in mind?

A feel-good contemporary romance set in a bistro beside the sea in Devon.


Review:

Winsome, warm, and sweet!

The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge is a delightfully absorbing, entertaining tale that takes you into the life of the feisty, determined Olivia as she travels to Devon to showcase her business savvy and help the sexy, talented Finn save his failing restaurant by the sea.

The writing is fluid and uplifting. The characters are hardworking, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is a charming blend of family, friendship, life, love, community, guilt, greed, corporate strife, chauvinism, and the day-to-day struggles of running a small bistro.

Overall, The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge is a lighthearted, optimistic, enjoyable tale by Stock that is pure escapism and perfect for a sunny afternoon read.

 

This book is available now. 

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

 

 

Giveaway:

Signed paperback, Notebook with front cover on, Postcard magnet with front cover on, Bookmark with front cover on, Bag of Devon fudge

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

Thank you to Julie Stock and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Julie Stock

Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam's Story) and Finding You (Jenna's Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books. Julie’s next novel, The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge, will be out in summer 2019. If you'd like to sign up to her newsletter list, you can do so here: https://mailchi.mp/f3a7d28c0ab8/julie-stockcouk . As a thank you, you'll be able to download Before You, the prequel story to the From Here to You series, for free.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Society of Authors.

When she is not writing, she works in communications. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

 

#BookReview
The Reckless Oath We Made
by Bryn Greenwood @bryngreenwood @PenguinRandomCA @PutnamBooks

#BookReview The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood @bryngreenwood @PenguinRandomCA @PutnamBooksTitle: The Reckless Oath We Made

Author: Bryn Greenwood

Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons on August 20, 2019

Genres: General Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A provocative love story between a tough Kansas woman on a crooked path to redemption and the unlikeliest of champions, from the New York Times bestselling author of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

Zee is nobody’s fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead’s temper and a shattered hip, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss.

Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee’s champion. Both shy and autistic, he’s barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid.

When an abduction tears Zee’s family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined–Gentry–and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever.


Review:

Heart-tugging, unconventional, and gritty!

The Reckless Oath We Made is an incredibly raw, moving novel about life in small-town Kansas where making ends meet is hard, responsibility weighs heavy, and loyalty, innocence, and love comes in many different forms.

The writing style is unique, with the narration being a mixture of contemporary and Middle English. The characters are tormented, fragile, and opportunistic. And the plot takes us on an emotional rollercoaster ride full of life, love, violence, tension, special needs, incarceration, ignorance, injustice, death, loss and selfless heroism. 

The Reckless Oath We Made is a very complex, intriguing, tragic romance that highlights just how powerful and personally destructive a solemn promise can be. It grips you from the very first page and leaves your heart bleeding for every single character, even the ones who at times are truly difficult to even like.  

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Bryn Greenwood

BRYN GREENWOOD is a fourth-generation Kansan and the daughter of a mostly reformed drug dealer. She is the author of the NYT bestseller All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. The Reckless Oath We Made is her fourth novel from Putnam. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

#BookReview
Hello I Want to Die
by Anna Mehler Paperny @amp6 @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview Hello I Want to Die by Anna Mehler Paperny @amp6 @PenguinRandomCATitle: Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me

Author: Anna Mehler Paperny

Published by: Random House Canada on August 6, 2019

Genres: Non Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A vibrant, compelling memoir from a remarkable young woman that bravely reveals the real-life havoc wrought by depression and the urgent search for solutions. Illuminating, completely engaging–it’s essential reading for all since we all know someone whose life, family or friends are touched by the disease that directly afflicts a fifth of Canadians.

In her early twenties, while outwardly thriving in her dream job and enjoying warm familial support and a strong social network, award-winning journalist Anna Mehler Paperny found herself trapped by feelings of failure and despair. Her first suicide attempt–ingesting a deadly mix of sleeping pills and antifreeze–landed her in the ICU, followed by weeks of enforced detention that ran the gamut of horrifying, boring, hilarious, and absurd. This was Anna’s entry into the labyrinthine psychiatric care system responsible for providing care to millions of Canadians.

As she struggled to survive the psych ward and as an outpatient–enduring the “survivor’s” shame of facing concerned family, friends, and co-workers; finding (or not) the right therapist, the right meds; staying healthy, insured, and employed–Anna could not help but turn her demanding journalist’s eye on her condition and on the system in which she found herself. She set off on a quest to “know her enemy,” interviewing leading practitioners in the field across Canada and the US–from psychiatrists to neurological experts, brain-mapping pioneers to heroic family practitioners, and others dabbling in novel hypotheses. She reveals in courageously frank detail her own experiences with the pharmacological pitfalls and side effects of long-term treatment, and offers moving case studies of conversations with others, opening wide a window into how we treat (and fail to treat) the disease that accounts for more years swallowed up by disability than any other in the world.


Review:

Informative, honest, and perceptive!

Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me is the first-hand, candid story of Anna Mehler Paperny’s personal, ongoing struggle with suicidal ideation and depression, as well as an in-depth look into the mental health care industry and the limitations, resources, misunderstandings, and treatments that surround it.

The writing is clear, moving, and educative. And the novel is an exceptionally researched, impassioned tale of one woman’s battle to maintain life while her brain consistently tells her to end it.

Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me is, ultimately, part memoir, part investigation that includes statistical data and interviews with Canadian and North American health care professionals that is a valuable, emotive resource for anyone, anywhere who suffers from, works with, or is affected in any way by this disease that wreaks havoc on over 300 million lives worldwide.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                  

 

 

 

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

 

About Anna Mehler Paperny

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY is an award-winning reporter for Reuters based in Toronto. Over a decade she's chased down stories ranging from the opioid crisis to migration, from post-quake Haiti to Guantanamo Bay. She's written for the Kingston Whig-Standard, the Edmonton Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Maclean's Magazine; as a staff reporter at The Globe and Mail; and a reporter-editor for Global News, where she developed globalnews.ca's award-winning Investigative Data Desk. Her work on deaths in Canadian prisons won an investigative journalism award. At Queen's University, she spent most of her time working on the campus newspaper.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

#BookReview #AudioBook
Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely
@laurenblakely3 @audible_com

#BookReview #AudioBook Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely @laurenblakely3 @audible_comTitle: Never Have I Ever

Author: Lauren Blakely

Narrated by: Amanda Ronconi, Jason Clarke

Published by: Audible Studios on July 30,2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Length: 8 hrs and 20 mins

Format: Audiobook

Source: Audible

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

What happens when two frenemies can’t stop pushing each other’s buttons? Find out in this tender, laugh-out-loud funny romance from number-one New York Times best-selling author Lauren Blakely, available in audio first!

Never Have I Ever been so infuriated by a man I wanted to kiss.

They say opposites attract, but I beg to differ. Combust is more like it. Because every single time I talk to Zach Nolan, I see red.

The too-good-looking, too-smart, too-effortlessly-charming single dad who works down the hall from me has turned getting under my skin into a sport. Call it the battle of wits between the wedding planner and the divorce attorney. Trouble is, when we’re forced into closer quarters, planning an engagement party for our best friends, I start to see his other sides.

And I fear I’m falling for the enemy.

***

I’m not out to make friends. My goals are simple — fight till the end for my clients, and my family. The last thing I need is a vibrant, outgoing, snarky, and surprisingly big-hearted wedding planner to spend my precious free time with…except, watching Piper bond with my daughter just might break down the cinder block walls I’ve built around my heart these last few years. Second chances don’t come around for guys like me…or do they?


Review:

Spicy, addictive, and intriguing!

Never Have I Ever is a hilarious, alluring, enemies-to-more romance that introduces us to the sweet, sassy, charming Piper who spends her days making brides happy and fairy tale weddings come true, and the intelligent, sharp, confident, divorce lawyer Zach who after losing the first love of his life is content to fill his days battling for his clients and spending time with his children.

The writing is titillating and fun. The characters are appealing, gregarious, and witty. And the plot is a sultry, push-pull tale full of red-hot chemistry, flirty banter, sexual innuendoes, tender moments, friendship, family, and unconditional love.

I have always been a fan of Lauren Blakely, and Never Have I Ever has just become one of my favourites. I loved the characters, I loved the storyline, and I loved the dual narration by Ronconi and Clarke. This story is an Audible Original title and is available now for free with any Audible Escape subscription. 

 

This audiobook is available now.

Pick up a copy from the following audible link.

 

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

 

About Lauren Blakely

A #1 New York Times Bestselling, #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and #1 Audible Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's sweet, sexy and witty. Her heroines are strong and smart and her heroes have hearts of gold and fantastic funny bones. She'd love to give you a free book today! Check out her web site to grab your free read: https://laurenblakely.com/one-free-book/

#BookReview
The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
@esmacneal @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal @esmacneal @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Doll Factory

Author: Elizabeth Macneal

Published by: Simon & Schuster on August 13, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 386

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . .


Review:

Gothic, evocative, and eerie!

The Doll Factory is a riveting, gritty tale set in London in the mid-1800s at a time when the city was bustling, scavenging was prevalent, respectability meant everything, The Great Exhibition was a structural marvel, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was redefining visual art.

There are three main memorable characters in this novel; Iris Whittle, a young red-headed girl who dreams of becoming an artist and unconsciously catches the eye of many; Silas Reed, a strange fellow with a morbid fascination with taxidermy and a macabre, obsessive nature; and Albie, a young guttersnipe who spends his days traipsing the streets for a shilling and dreaming of a mouth full of pearly whites.

The prose is ominous and rich. The supporting characters are multilayered, flawed, and believable. And the plot is an insightful, compelling tale of familial responsibilities, strength, duty, coming-of-age, art, friendship, passion, desire, obsession, loss, love, survival, and the roles of women in Victorian England.

Overall, The Doll Factory is an intense, creative, menacing read by Macneal that does a beautiful job of interweaving historical facts and compelling fiction into a sinister, suspenseful mystery that is deliciously atmospheric and highly entertaining.

 

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 Elizabeth Macneal

Elizabeth Macneal was born in Edinburgh and now lives in East London. She is a writer and potter and works from a small studio at the bottom of her garden. She read English Literature at Oxford University, before working in the City for several years. In 2017, she completed the Creative Writing MA at UEA in 2017 where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury scholarship.

The Doll Factory, Elizabeth's debut novel, won the Caledonia Noel Award 2018. It will be published in twenty-eight languages and TV rights have sold to Buccaneer Media.

Photography by Mat Smith.

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