10/10

#BookReview The Chemistry of Love by Sariah Wilson @sariahwilson @ThomasAllenLTD @KayePublicity @AmazonPub #TheChemistryofLove #SariahWilson #Montlake #KayePublicity

#BookReview The Chemistry of Love by Sariah Wilson @sariahwilson @ThomasAllenLTD @KayePublicity @AmazonPub #TheChemistryofLove #SariahWilson #Montlake #KayePublicity Title: The Chemistry of Love

Author: Sariah Wilson

Published by: Montlake Romance on Feb. 1, 2023

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 348

Format: Paperback

Source: Kaye Publicity, Thomas Allen & Son

Book Rating: 10/10

True love requires a little research and development in a funny, heart-racing romance by Sariah Wilson, the bestselling author of The Paid Bridesmaid.

How can Anna Ellis, a geeky, brilliant, and hopelessly smitten cosmetic chemist possibly win over Craig Kimball, the man of her dreams—who also happens to be her boss? The answer is Craig’s empathetic (and handsome) CEO half brother, Marco. The makeup mogul knows Craig for the ridiculously competitive rival he is. Whatever Marco has, Craig wants. That can be Anna, if she’s game to play.

All Anna and Marco have to do is pretend they’re falling in love and let the rumors begin. If the experiment in attraction works, a jealous Craig will swoop in and give Anna her happily ever after—if it weren’t for one hitch in the plan. There’s more to Marco than meets the eye. With every fake date, Anna’s feelings are starting to become dizzyingly real.

Blame it on chemistry. It’s unpredictable, exciting, and occasionally combustible. If Anna and Marco are really falling in love, who are they to argue with science?


Review:

Quirky, adorable, and addictive!

The Chemistry of Love is a sweet, humorous, steamy tale featuring the creative, talented cosmetic chemist Anna and the hardworking, considerate CEO Marco as they discover quite quickly that there may be a lot more to their relationship than just convenience, pretence, deals, and fake feelings.

The writing is amusing and sweet. The characters are charismatic, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is an enchanting tale bursting with witty banter, shameless flirting, red-hot chemistry, tender moments, self-discovery, family, friendship, kindness, light drama, and unconditional love.

Overall, The Chemistry of Love is another delightful, engaging, highly entertaining tale by Wilson that has everything I look for in a lighthearted rom-com and more. I loved the characters, I loved the meet cute, I loved the storyline, and I loved the happy-ever-after ending.

This novel is available now.

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

       

 

 

Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son and Kaye Publicity for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sariah Wilson

USA Today bestselling author Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children . She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with two cats named Pixel and Callie, who do not get along. (The cats, not the children. Although the children sometimes have their issues, too.)

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin @WLBaldwin @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheSistersWeWere #WendyWallisBaldwin #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin @WLBaldwin @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheSistersWeWere #WendyWallisBaldwin #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Sisters We Were

Author: Wendy Willis Baldwin

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jan. 17, 2023

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 10/10

Pearl and Ruby’s choices drove them apart.

Finding their way back to each other might be the only way forward.

The weight of their family secrets could not have shaped Pearl and Ruby Crenshaw any differently. Ruby’s a runner, living in Dallas and only reluctantly talking to their mother, Birdie, when she calls from prison. Pearl is still living in her mother’s fixer-upper and finds herself facing a line in the sand: her weight is threatening to kill her. She’s hundreds of pounds beyond the point where she can celebrate her curves or benefit from the body positivity movement, and unless she takes drastic action, the future looks dire.

But when Ruby’s buried rage explodes in a hilariously viral way, the mistake has life-altering consequences. Now the sisters are back living under the same roof and forced to put the pieces of their separate lives together again. Funny, cinematic, and bursting with heart, this is a story of hope and redemption that celebrates the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.


Review:

Sincere, memorable, and sweet!

The Sisters We Were is an intimate, uplifting tale that sweeps you away to Austin, Texas and immerses you into the lives of the Crenshaw sisters, Pearl and Ruby, as they must finally accept the things they cannot change, make risky, life-altering decisions, confront a past littered with tragedy and heartbreak, repair fractured relationships, and embrace a future that doesn’t involve running away or eating for solace.

The writing is effortless and polished. The characters are multi-layered, genuine, scarred, and courageous. And the plot, including all the subplots, skillfully intertwines and unravels into a delightfully touching tale about life, love, loss, guilt, grief, family drama, secrets, friendship, happiness, self-discovery, romance, the day-to-day struggles of morbid obesity, and the special bonds that exist between sisters.

Overall, The Sisters We Were is a beautiful mix of hope, heart, and healing that is not only a humorous, emotive, lovely novel by Willis Baldwin but one which I don’t think anyone could possibly read and not be completely absorbed and utterly moved.

This book is available now.

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

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Wendy Willis Baldwin

Author and freelance writer Wendy Willis Baldwin is a natural born storyteller. Her communications background includes broadcasting, marketing, talk radio, and sales. A native of Texas and a graduate of Texas Tech University, Wendy is a recent empty nester now living on a farm in New England, with one husband, three dogs, and thousands of honeybees. She is the co-host of the Life After Fat Pants Podcast.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre by Natasha Lester @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #NatashaLester #TheThreeLivesofAlixStPierre #HBGCanada

#BookReview The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre by Natasha Lester @HBGCanada @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #NatashaLester #TheThreeLivesofAlixStPierre #HBGCanada Title: The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre

Author: Natasha Lester

Published by: Forever on Jan. 10, 2023

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Hardcover

Source: Forever, HBG Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

New York Times bestselling author Natasha Lester delivers an unforgettable story of an orphan turned WWII spy turned fashion icon in Paris—perfect for fans of Kate Quinn and Fiona Davis.
 
Alix St. Pierre. An unforgettable name for an unforgettable woman. She grew up surrounded by Hollywood glamor, but, as an orphan, never truly felt part of that world. In 1943, with WWII raging and men headed overseas to fight, she lands a publicity job to recruit women into the workforce. Her skills—persuasion, daring, quick-witted under pressure—catch the attention of the U.S. government and she finds herself with an even bigger assignment: sent to Switzerland as a spy. Soon Alix is on the precipice of something big, very big. But how far can she trust her German informant…?
 
After an Allied victory that didn’t come nearly soon enough, Alix moves to Paris, ready to immerse herself in a new position as director of publicity for the yet-to-be-launched House of Dior. In the glamorous halls of the French fashion house, she can nearly forget everything she lost and the dangerous secret she carries. But when a figure from the war reappears and threatens to destroy her future, Alix realizes that only she can right the wrongs of the past …and finally find justice.

Review:

Sincere, vivid, and engaging!

The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre is a gripping, heartfelt story set predominantly in Switzerland and France between 1942 and 1947 that takes you into the life of Alix St. Pierre, a young woman who spends the last few years of the war working for the OSS as a spy in Bern helping to create a secure courier line for the Italian partisans, and the next few years post WWII working as hard as she can to make the new Maison Christian Dior a worldwide phenomenon as his Directrice of the Service de la Presse while also using her spare time to hunt down the Nazi informant who shattered her world and left her responsible for the needless slaughtering of nine lives, two of whom she deeply cared for.

The prose is polished and eloquent. The characters are driven, tormented, and resilient. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel effortlessly into a sweeping saga of life, loss, heartbreak, betrayal, secrets, espionage, danger, survival, tragedy, friendship, and a touch of romance.

As a historical fiction lover for the past few years Natasha Lester’s books have been some of my all-time favourites, and even though I didn’t think it was possible to love another one of her books more than the ones I’ve already read, she proved me wrong. The Three Lives of Alix St. Pierre is an unbelievable story that captured me from the very first page, and not only did I devour it, I absolutely loved it!

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 & Forever 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.

#BookReview Misfit by Elle Kennedy @ElleKennedy @Read_Bloom #ReadBloom #MisfitBook #SandoverPrep #ElleKennedy #SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Misfit by Elle Kennedy @ElleKennedy @Read_Bloom #ReadBloom #MisfitBook #SandoverPrep #ElleKennedy #SourcebooksCasa Title: Misfit

Author: Elle Kennedy

Series: Prep #1

Published by: Bloom Books on Nov. 29, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Book Rating: 10/10

Finding out your mom is marrying some rich dude you’ve never met is enough to make any eighteen-year-old guy’s head spin. But for RJ SHAW, it only gets worse: he’s being sent to Sandover Prep for senior year. If there’s one place a misfit hacker like RJ doesn’t belong, it’s an ivy-covered all-boys boarding school for rich delinquents.

RJ knows his stay at Sandover will be temporary. Which means there’s no point making friends or trying to fit in. But the plan to remain antisocial goes awry when he meets a gorgeous girl in the woods on campus. SLOANE TRESSCOTT is pure temptation, with a sharp tongue and an ice princess attitude RJ’s determined to crack. Except there’s a catch. Sloane is the one girl he is forbidden from touching.

The headmaster’s daughter.

Good thing RJ doesn’t believe in rules. Sure, Sloane insists she’s swearing off guys this year, but their connection is impossible to deny. He wants her bad, and he’s going to win her over if it kills him.

Unless her ex-boyfriend kills him first.

DUKE, the ruling king of Sandover, will stop at nothing to get rid of his competition. Luckily, RJ’s unwittingly made some friends—his new stepbrother FENN, a pretty boy with a self-destructive streak; LAWSON, self-proclaimed agent of chaos; and SILAS, the All-American Good Guy who can’t actually be as nice as he seems.

If RJ wants to survive prep school and win Sloane’s heart, he’ll need to adapt—and fast.


Review:

Captivating, sexy, and outrageously entertaining!

Misfit is a seductive, engaging tale that transports you to Sandover Prep, an elite all-boys school for rich delinquent teens that has all the usual fare, entitled students, unrelenting bullies, sexual promiscuity, forbidden romance, naughty behaviour, and innumerably delicious scandals.

The writing is steamy and fun. The characters are rebellious, self-indulgent, and secretive. And the plot, told from multiple perspectives, is a passionate, promiscuous, coming-of-age tale full of familial troubles, teenage angst, palpable attraction, witty banter, excessive indulgence, romance, friendship, and love.

Overall, Misfit is a wildly addictive, sinfully salacious, exceptionally absorbing novel by Kennedy that immersed me so thoroughly in the decadence, lifestyle, drama, luxuries, and scandalous behaviour of the characters I never wanted to put it down. It’s truly a guilty pleasure that undoubtedly not only left me craving for more but already counting down the days until I can get my hands on the second book in the series Rogue, publishing on March 7, 2023.

This novel is available now.

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

         

 

Thank you to Bloom Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

#BookReview How to Win a Wallflower by Samara Parish @SamaraParish @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2022 #HowtoWinaWallflower #SamaraParish #RebelswithaCauseSeries

#BookReview How to Win a Wallflower by Samara Parish @SamaraParish @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2022 #HowtoWinaWallflower #SamaraParish #RebelswithaCauseSeries Title: How to Win a Wallflower

Author: Samara Parish

Series: Rebels with a Cause #3

Published by: Forever on Dec. 13, 2022

Genres: Historical Romance

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 10/10

A wallflower will put everything on the line . . .

When John Barnesworth inherits unexpectedly, he abandons his solitude and returns to London to settle his brother’s affairs, only to discover his estates are crumbling and he is now betrothed to his brother’s unpleasant fiancée. Her dowry might save him from ruin, but at what cost? His only hope lies with the vivacious, charming Lady Charlotte Stirling, whose audacious solution to John’s troubles might actually work. If only he can keep his feelings for her out of the equation . . .

Lady Charlotte Stirling knows she can’t fall for John. He’s her brother’s best friend, he’s engaged to her mortal enemy, and he wants to return to America. Not to mention he’d never survive in her bustling social life. She can, however, try to solve his money problem. But the closer she gets to ensuring his freedom, the harder it is to let him go . . .


Review:

Seductive, scandalous, and entertaining!

How to Win a Wallflower is a playful, heartwarming tale that sweeps you away to London during 1825 and into the life of the shy, handsome, newly appointed Viscount Harrow, John Barnesworth who, after living a quiet life surrounded by his inventions in Boston, returns home to find his family’s estates in shatters and relying on the help of his best friend’s little sister, the beautiful Lady Charlotte Stirling who may have been secretly pining for him for years.

The prose is amusing and light. The characters are loyal, supportive, and endearing. And the plot is a delightfully enchanting tale full of friendship, family, societal expectations, scheming behaviour, tricky situations, desire, danger, and steamy romance.

Overall, How to Win a Wallflower is an addictive, charming, enticing tale by Parish that I absolutely devoured and which is another fantastic addition to what is hands down one of my all-time favourite historical romance series.

This novel is available now.

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

              

 

 

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

 

About Samara Parish

Samara Parish has been escaping into fictional worlds since she was a child. When she picked up her first historical romance book, she found a fantasy universe she never wanted to leave and the inspiration to write her own stories. She lives in Australia with her own hero and their many fur-babies in a house with an obscenely large garden, despite historically being unable to keep a cactus alive. How to Survive a Scandal is her debut novel.

Photo by Amanda Hardwick.

#BookReview So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde @ThomasAllenLTD @AmazonPub #SoLongChesterWheeler #CatherineRyanHyde #LakeUnion

#BookReview So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde @ThomasAllenLTD @AmazonPub #SoLongChesterWheeler #CatherineRyanHyde #LakeUnion Title: So Long, Chester Wheeler

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published by: Lake Union Publishing on Dec. 6, 2022

Genres: General Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Thomas Allen & Son

Book Rating: 10/10

Unlikely road trip companions form an unexpected bond in an uplifting novel about the past—lost and found—by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Lewis Madigan is young, gay, out of work, and getting antsy when he’s roped into providing end-of-life care for his insufferable homophobic neighbor, Chester Wheeler. Lewis doesn’t need the aggravation, just the money. The only requirements: run errands, be on call, and put up with a miserable old churl no one else in Buffalo can bear. After exchanging barbs, bickering, baiting, and pushing buttons, Chester hits Lewis with the big ask.

Lewis can’t say no to a dying wish: drive Chester to Arizona in his rust bucket of a Winnebago to see his ex-wife for the first time in thirty-two years—for the last time. One week, two thousand miles. To Lewis, it becomes an illuminating journey into the life and secrets of a vulnerable man he’s finally beginning to understand. A neighbor, a stranger, and a surprising new friend whose closure on a conflicted past is also just beginning.

So Long, Chester Wheeler is an uplifting novel about looking deeper into the heart and soul to form bonds with the last people we’d expect—only to discover that they’re the ones who need it most.


Review:

Heartwarming, memorable, and affecting!

So Long, Chester Wheeler is a timely, sentimental story that sweeps you away into a bittersweet tale where grievances are aired, truths are acknowledged, truces are made, friendships are savoured, tears are shed, memories are created, last requests are honoured, lives are celebrated, and love is forged and shared.

The writing is smooth and heartfelt. The characters are sincere, genuine, and lovable. And the plot is a delightful blend of heart, hope, humour, nostalgia, drama, and emotion.

Overall, So Long, Chester Wheeler is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, dreams, heartbreak, friendship, family, and finding happiness, and I absolutely adored it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and in the end, it left me smiling.

This book is available now.

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

           

 

 

Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Catherine Ryan Hyde

I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I'm an avid hiker, traveller, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Down in Flames by Kate Meader #DowninFlames #KateMeader #HotinChicagoRookies

#BookReview Down in Flames by Kate Meader #DowninFlames #KateMeader #HotinChicagoRookies Title: Down in Flames

Author: Kate Meader

Series: Hot in Chicago Rookies #2

Published by: Kate Meader LLC on Dec. 6, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 358

Format: ARC, eBook

Source: Kate Meader

Book Rating: 10/10

It was supposed to be a random hookup.

At a crossroads, my life a hot mess, I swiped right on the guy with the washboard abs and the tree-trunk thighs. His handle was Holt (yeah, really) but as soon as he opened the door, I recognized him: Hudson Grey, the hottest prospect in pro-hockey and apparently, secretly playing for my team. Not mind-blowing enough? He needed someone to punch his V-card and I was only too happy to volunteer as tribute . . .

Then he ghosted me when it got to be too much.

A year later, my life is back on track and I’m a candidate firefighter at legendary Engine 6. While I might be new to the Chicago Fire Department, I’m a veteran in the game of steamy hookups. My No. 1 rule? No newbies. Except now Hudson has been traded to my hometown team, the Chicago Rebels, and he’s out, proud, and ready to date. And he wants my help introducing him to the local gay scene.

My messy past means I’m the worst guy to be mentoring the shy, sexy jock. But neither can I stand by and watch while others touch the man who already feels like mine.

I might have been his first, but I’m about to learn that the new guy has even more to teach me about hunger, hope, and falling hard . . .

Includes: First times, hot firefighters, sexy hockey players, meddling friends, and fighting like hell for the love of a lifetime.


Review:

Passionate, provocative, and steamy!

Down in Flames is a sweet, sultry, heartwarming romance featuring the shy, inexperienced NFL star Hudson and the wild, sexy candidate firefighter Jude as they discover that the heart wants what the heart wants and that some things are definitely worth fighting for.

The prose is fervent and spicy. The characters are multi-faceted, vulnerable, and endearing. And the plot is an alluring mix of palpable chemistry, sizzling tension, heartfelt emotion, flirty banter, friendship, tricky situations, awkward moments, and explosive heat.

Down in Flames is, ultimately, a seductive, swoon-worthy, heartwarming tale by Meader with scrumptious characters and an intriguing storyline that is not only a fantastic addition to the Hot in Chicago Rookies series but hands down one of my favourite MM romance novels 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 Kate Meader for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kate Meader

Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she's there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip.

#BookReview The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheChristmasPostcards #KarenSwan #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheChristmasPostcards #KarenSwan #PGCBooks Title: The Christmas Postcards

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Set in a chocolate-box village, a woman makes a surprising connection with a pen-pal that will change her life – and warm your heart – in the new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

It had been a make-or-break holiday for their marriage, but Natasha and Rob’s rekindled romance is short-lived when their daughter’s beloved soft toy disappears on the journey home.

As Natasha comforts the distraught child, she turns to social media for help. Miraculously, the toy is found, but it has become the lucky mascot of a man named Duffy, who is thousands of miles away.

When Duffy promises to keep Natasha updated with pictures, the pair begin a correspondence that soon becomes more meaningful to both of them. Sometimes, Natasha feels this stranger understands her more than the man lying next to her.

But as the weeks pass and Duffy heads deeper into the mountains, Natasha begins to notice a change in him. Then one day, the messages stop. Too late, Natasha wonders why he had ever needed a lucky mascot at all.

From the picture-perfect Cotswolds to the majesty of the Himalayan foothills, The Christmas Postcards is a novel about how the closest connections can be the furthest apart.


Review:

Atmospheric, heartfelt, and enchanting!

The Christmas Postcards is an alluring, compelling tale that sweeps you away into the life of Natasha, a young mother who, after her daughter loses her toy elephant she can’t possibly live without, begins a correspondence with the man who found it, Duffy, who seems to be on a soul-searching mission of his own and who may have actually spent a moment of time with Natasha once years before.

The prose is effortless and immersive. The characters are multilayered, troubled, and genuine. And the plot is a heartwarming tale about life, loss, love, friendship, relationship dynamics, hope, happiness, tragedy, fate, self-discovery, and romance.

I’m not sure if it’s ever truly winter unless I have a Karen Swan book to cosy up with in front of the fire, and this twenty-fourth outing is everything I could have wanted and more. The Christmas Postcards is a charming, emotional, irresistible tale by Swan that’s the perfect escapist read with its layered characters, idyllic settings, and beautifully entertaining storyline.

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 gifting me 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 Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese @Laurie_Albanese @StMartinsPress #HesterNovel #LaurieLicoAlbanese #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese @Laurie_Albanese @StMartinsPress #HesterNovel #LaurieLicoAlbanese #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Hester

Author: Laurie Lico Albanese

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 10/10

Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Edinburgh for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they’ve arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic––leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.

When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows––while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward’s safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which?

In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country’s complicated past, and learns that America’s ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel’s story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a “real” American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of “unusual” women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition, and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.

A vivid reimagining of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and a journey into the enduring legacy of New England’s witchcraft trials.


Review:

Absorbing, multilayered, and moving!

Hester is an expressive, compelling tale set in Scotland and Salem during both the early 1800s and 1662 when religious condemnation and fear of the unknown was rife, women with special abilities were labelled witches, the Underground Railroad was working tirelessly to give slaves the freedom they so rightly deserved, cruel and barbaric behaviour towards women who didn’t conform to what society deemed norm was still acceptable, and love still managed to blossom everywhere even under the most unlikely of circumstances.

The prose is evocative and rich. The characters are strong, resilient, and haunted. And the plot is an engrossing tale about life, loss, friendship, family, determination, courage, self-identity, sexism, prejudice, poverty, survival, romance, and the beauty of colour.

Overall, Hester is a book you have to read to truly appreciate just how atmospheric, alluring, and beautifully written it is. It grabs you from the very first page and does a remarkable job of blending historical facts with captivating fiction that’s both intriguing, creative, and exceptionally immersive, especially for those who, like myself, are fans of Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                

 

 

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

 

About Laurie Lico Albanese

Laurie Lico Albanese has published fiction, poetry, journalism, travel writing, creative nonfiction, and memoir. Her books include Stolen Beauty, Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir, Lynelle by the Sea, and The Miracles of Prato, co-written with art historian Laura Morowitz. Laurie is married to a publishing executive and is the mother of two children.

#BookReview The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw @PennyHaw @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheInvincibleMissCust #PennyHaw #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Invincible Miss Cust by Penny Haw @PennyHaw @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheInvincibleMissCust #PennyHaw #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Invincible Miss Cust

Author: Penny Haw

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 10/10

Must-read historical fiction for fans of Marie Benedict and Tracey Enerson Wood, based on the real life of Britain and Ireland’s first woman veterinary surgeon.

Aleen Cust has big dreams and no one―not her family, society, or the law―will stop her.

Born in Ireland in 1868 to an aristocratic English family, Aleen knows she is destined to work with animals, even if her family is appalled by the idea of a woman pursuing a veterinary career. Going against their wishes but with the encouragement of the guardian assigned to her upon her father’s death, Aleen attends the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, enrolling as A. I. Custance to spare her family the humiliation they fear. At last, she is on her way to becoming a veterinary surgeon! Little does she know her biggest obstacles lie ahead.

The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the real life of Aleen Isabel Cust, who defied her family and society to become Britain and Ireland’s first woman veterinary surgeon. Through Penny Haw’s meticulous research, riveting storytelling, and elegant prose, Aleen’s story of ambition, determination, family, friendship, and passion comes to life. It is a story that, even today, women will recognize, of battling patriarchy and an unequal society to realize one’s dreams and pave the way for other women in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.


Review:

Insightful, rich, and absorbing!

The Invincible Miss Cust is a beautifully written, fascinating interpretation that sweeps you away to England and Ireland between 1874 and 1922 and into the life of Aleen Isobel Cust from the loss of her father as a child and subsequent move from Ireland back to England, her struggle to be accepted and allowed to study at the New Veterinary College in Edinburgh, her enduring passion and love for the Emerald Isle and the animals that called its lush green fields home, and her final acceptance on the RCVS register in 1922.  

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are diligent, brave, and independent. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, love, friendship, familial drama, support, passion, courage, and the ins and outs of veterinary medicine in the late 1800s. 

Some of my favourite books of all time are those that remind us of the things that daily we often take for granted and yet were forged by strong, courageous, determined women who came before us and The Invincible Miss Cust is one of those. It’s a vivid, immersive, intriguing novel by Haw that does an exceptional job of highlighting her considerable knowledge and impressive research into this renowned iconic figure whose grit, hard work and perseverance had a tremendous impact on the world of veterinary surgery.

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Penny Haw

Penny Haw worked as a journalist and columnist for more than three decades, writing for many leading South African newspapers and magazines before yielding to a lifelong yearning to create fiction. Her stories feature remarkable women, illustrate her love for nature, and explore the interconnectedness of all living things. The Invincible Miss Cust is Penny’s debut historical fiction. She lives near Cape Town with her husband and three dogs, all of whom are well-walked.

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