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#BookReview
The Things We Knew by Catherine West

#BookReview The Things We Knew by Catherine WestTitle: The Things We Knew

Author: Catherine West

Published by: Thomas Nelson on July 12, 2016

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When their tragic past begins to resurface, can he help her remember the things she can’t?

After her mother’s death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother’s death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can’t remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother’s best friend and Lynette’s first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can’t.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn’t want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father’s failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.


Review:

This is an intriguing story about the difficult challenges we face in life and how we each, independently, cope with them.

It is an engaging mystery that touches on the importance of familial relationships, secrets, loss, forgiveness, grace, and, ultimately, the power of truth.

It is well written. And the characters are well-developed, complex, interesting and flawed.

Overall, I found this novel to be a nice, heartwarming enjoyable read.

 

This book is due to be published on July 12, 2016.

 

 

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

#BookReview
The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan

#BookReview The Decent Proposal by Kemper DonovanTitle: The Decent Proposal

Author: Kemper Donovan

Published by: HarperCollins on April 5, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 308

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An addictively readable debut romantic comedy, drama, and mystery rolled into one, about two very different strangers whose lives become intertwined when they receive an unusual proposition. This is a funny, tender, and enchanting story about love, attraction, and friendship: Jane Austen in Los Angeles.

A struggling Hollywood producer, Richard Baumbach is twenty-nine, hung-over, and broke. Ridiculously handsome with an innate charm and an air of invincibility, he still believes good things will come his way. For now he contents himself with days at the Coffee Bean and nights with his best friend Mike (that’s a woman, by the way).

At thirty-three, Elizabeth Santiago is on track to make partner at her law firm. Known as “La Máquina” The Machine—to her colleagues, she’s grown used to avoiding anything that might derail her quiet, orderly life. And yet recently she befriended a homeless man in her Venice neighborhood, surprised to find how much she enjoys their early-morning chats.

Richard and Elizabeth’s paths collide when they receive a proposal from a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. They’ll split a million dollars if they agree to spend at least two hours together—just talking—every week for a year. Astonished and more than a little suspicious, they each nevertheless say yes. Richard needs the money and likes the adventure of it. Elizabeth embraces the challenge of shaking up her life a little more. Both agree the idea is ridiculous, but why not?

What ensues is a delightful journey full of twists, revelations, hamburgers, classic literature, poppy music, and above all love, in its multitude of forms. The Decent Proposal is a heartfelt and often hilarious look at the ties that bind not just a guy and a girl but an entire, diverse cast of characters situated within a modern-day Los Angeles brought to full and irrepressible life.


Review:

This was a hard book for me to review.

It is definitely an enjoyable, engaging novel, with all the elements you typically look for in contemporary romance, but for some reason I just didn’t feel completely satisfied at the end of the story.

The writing is well done. The characters are complex. The plot is unique and intriguing. And I especially enjoyed the references to classic movies, books and pop music.

Unfortunately, however, although I liked the idea and found it to be an interesting read, I just didn’t love it.

 

#BookReview
Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton

#BookReview Unexpected Rush by Jaci BurtonTitle: Unexpected Rush

Author: Jaci Burton

Series: Play by Play #11

Published by: Berkley on February 16, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 330

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

 

Synopsis:

In the new Play-By-Play novel by the New York Timesbestselling author of All Wound Up, a football hot shot and his best friend’s sister are breaking all the rules.

All the Right Moves

For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.

Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in social work. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.

When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over…


Review:

This is a fun, steamy, contemporary romance story.

There are hot football players, sexy romance scenes, and a good, although predictable, plot.

All-in-all this is an easy, quick read that would be great for summer.

 

 

About Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 70 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.

#BookReview
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
@WmKentKrueger

#BookReview Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger @WmKentKruegerTitle: Ordinary Grace

Author: William Kent Krueger

Published by: Atria Books on March 4, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 307

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.


Review:

This is a really great story about the challenges we face in life and the ways in which we handle them.

It is a coming-of-age story, with a side of mystery, that touches on the power of perspective, the strength of familial relationships, friendship, loss, grief, forgiveness and faith.

It is exquisitely written. The prose is beautiful. The setting is vividly described. And the characters are well-developed and complex.

It is a subtle story that flows effortlessly, leaves an impression, and makes an impact.

I highly recommend it. It is definitely worth a read.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on William Kent Krueger, visit his website at: williamkentkrueger.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @WmKentKrueger

 

#BookReview
The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward
@JRWard1

#BookReview The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward @JRWard1Title: The Bourbon Kings

Author: J.R. Ward

Series: The Bourbon Kings #1

Published by: NAL on July 28, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal…. 

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.


Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

This novel takes you into the lives of, the multi-generational bourbon maker family, the Bradford’s. They are southern. They are rich. And they have everything you would expect, debutante wives, fast cars, and beautiful houses. But like most families with money, power, and privilege everything is not as it always seems, and hidden away behind closed doors you find adultery, abuse, lies, secrets, and murder.

This story is very engaging and captivating. The characters are complex, flawed, and self-destructive. And the plot is well written, interesting and suspenseful.

This can be read as a standalone novel, but I guarantee by the end you will be looking forward to reading what comes next in the Bourbon Kings Book #2, The Angels’ Share, due to be published July 26, 2016.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

#BookReview
The Last Mile by David Baldacci
@davidbaldacci

#BookReview The Last Mile by David Baldacci @davidbaldacciTitle: The Last Mile

Author: David Baldacci

Series: Amos Decker #2

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on April 19, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . . 
THE LAST MILE
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution–for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier–when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.
Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.
The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars–guilty or not–a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?
But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger–and more sinister–than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed. 


Review:

This is another great mystery from David Baldacci. It is the second book in the Amos Decker series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

In this novel our favourite characters, Decker, Jamison and Bogart, from Memory Man are back and working together as a special team in the FBI that try to solve cold cases.

This story is well written, interesting, suspenseful, and intelligent. It has everything you look for in a good mystery, murder, kidnapping, blackmail, and deceit.

It is a captivating page turner that you won’t want to put down. I highly recommend it.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on David Baldacci, visit his website at: davidbaldacci.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @davidbaldacci

 

#BookReview
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

#BookReview The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeTitle: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Published by: Broadway Books on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


Review:

As a book lover, I was really excited to read this book. I thought it had a great premise and great potential. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t live up to my expectations and I can’t really pinpoint exactly where it went wrong.

The imagery of Paris and the French countryside is vivid, bold, and extremely well done. The characters evolve, develop, and grow throughout the story. And the plot is unique and thoughtful.

It is, ultimately, a story about loneliness and longing, the ability to love and to be loved, and what it means to truly live.

However, saying all that, it just never seemed to capture my attention. It didn’t flow well and I found myself putting it down numerous times before pushing myself to pick it back up to finish it. 

This is probably one of those stories that some people will love, but I would have to say with all the other great stories out there I would give this one a miss.

 

#BookReview
Sweet Resolve by Jill Sanders

#BookReview Sweet Resolve by Jill SandersTitle: Sweet Resolve

Author: Jill Sanders

Series: Lucky #2

Published by: Montlake Romance on June 7, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 176

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Montlake Romance, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Amy Walker is steps away from her perfect job. The day she makes partner at her real estate firm will be the happiest of her life, second only to the day in junior high when her tormentor, Logan Miller, finally moved away. But fate has a warped sense of humor, because Logan is back. In her town, in her office, gunning for the same promotion. Worse, the man is sinfully hot. But that won’t keep Amy from exacting the revenge he richly deserves…

Logan had reasons for acting wild in his youth, but he still regrets the way he treated Amy. Especially once he’s sharing an office with the smart, self-controlled beauty. For one thing, she’s got a wicked sense of payback. For another, he’s realized there’s something he wants much more than a promotion. And that’s to melt the ice he helped form around her heart all those years ago and to prove that loving thine enemy can be the ultimate happy ending.


Review:

This is a nice contemporary romance story.

It is the second story in the Lucky Series, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone novel.

The writing flows easy. The characters are sweet and engaging. And the plot has humour, romance, and a little twist to create a bit of suspense.

Overall, although predictable, this is a cute, light-hearted read, that is certainly not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

 

This book is due to be published on June 7, 2016.

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Montlake Romance, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

#BookReview
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

#BookReview Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsTitle: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1

Published by: Quirk Books on June 4, 2013

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 382

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

Synopsis:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Review:

I have seen this book many times but it wasn’t until I recently saw it on a “Books Becoming Movies in 2016” list that I decided to give it a try.

I actually thought from the picture on the front cover of this book that it might be a horror story, but boy was I surprised.

This is actually a highly imaginative tale about those with extraordinary abilities. It takes place in the present, and the past during the height of WWII.

I have to say, there are elements of this story that remind me a little of such classics as The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and Harry Potter. Similar to those stories, the children, themselves, are the protectors and heroes against the monsters that hunt them, and they use portals for time travel between the present and the past to survive.

The writing is simple but effective. The plot is creative, suspenseful, and magical. It truly is a very unique story.

Keep in mind, there are two other novels in the series, Hollow City and Library of Souls, where the battles and adventures of these “peculiar children” continue.

Also, the movie for this first book is set to be released in theatres in September 2016.

 

#BookReview
Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson

#BookReview Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer RobsonTitle: Moonlight over Paris

Author: Jennifer Robson

Series: The Great War #3

Published by: William Morrow on January 19, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

USA Today and internationally bestselling author Jennifer Robson takes readers to 1920s Paris in an enthralling new historical novel that tells the riveting story of an English lady who trades in her staid aristocratic life for the mesmerizing salons and the heady world of the Lost Generation.

It’s the spring of 1924, and Lady Helena Montagu-Douglas-Parr has just arrived in France. On the mend after a near-fatal illness, she is ready to embrace the restless, heady allure of the City of Lights. Her parents have given her one year to live with her eccentric aunt in Paris and Helena means to make the most of her time. She’s quickly drawn into the world of the Lost Generation and its circle of American expatriates, and with their encouragement, she finds the courage to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.

One of those expats is Sam Howard, a journalist working for the Chicago Tribune. Irascible, plain-spoken, and scarred by his experiences during the war, Sam is simply the most fascinating man she has ever met. He’s also entirely unsuitable. 

As Paris is born anew, rising phoenix-like from the ashes of the Great War, Helena realizes that she, too, is changing. The good girl she once was, so dutiful and obedient, so aware of her place in the world, is gone forever. Yet now that she has shed her old self, who will she become, and where, and with whom, does she belong…?


Review:

This is the third book in the Great War Trilogy. And even though there is some cross over with the characters, this book can easily be read as a stand-alone novel.

The story takes place in Paris in the 1920s and gives us a fascinating view of the culture and lifestyle of the people, especially artists, who resided there at that time.

The characters are interesting and warm, and the story flows effortlessly from page to page.

It really is a wonderful love story. And if you like historical fiction, especially novels set in the interwar period, then you will like this book.

If you haven’t read the other two novels in the series, I would recommend them. The first novel is Somewhere in France, and the second one is After the War is Over. 

 

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