10/10

#BookReview
A Life to Kill by Matthew Hall
@MatthewH_books @panmacmillan @PGCBooks

#BookReview A Life to Kill by Matthew Hall @MatthewH_books @panmacmillan @PGCBooksTitle: A Life to Kill

Author: Matthew Hall

Series: Coroner Jenny Cooper #7

Published by Pan Macmillan on February 19, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

The seventh gripping installment in Matthew Hall’s twice CWA Gold Dagger-nominated series – soon to be a CBC Television Original Drama, Coroner, starring Serinda Swan, Roger Cross, and Ehren Kassam.

The day they’ve all been waiting for is at hand. The last British combat soldiers in the Helmand province of Afghanistan are counting the minutes until their departure home to Highcliffe: a small town in the south of England. For their families, it spells the end of an agonizing six month wait.

But in the final hours, disaster strikes. Nineteen-year-old Private Pete ‘Skippy’ Lyons is taken hostage in the night and the patrol sent out to locate him is ambushed. One killed, two injured. And one still missing in action.

Their loved ones are left desperate for answers the Army is reluctant to provide. How was Private Lyons abducted from a heavily fortified command post? And why are officers trying to disguise what happened during the mission to save him?

Their only hope lies with Coroner Jenny Cooper, who must take on the full might of the military to stop the truth being buried along with the boy soldiers. But in a town filled with secrets and rumours, it’s not only the Army that has something to hide.


Review:

Compulsive, astute, and timely!

In this latest novel in the Coroner Jenny Cooper series, A Life to Kill, Hall immerses us in a complicated, emotional case involving a missing Private, a dead soldier, two critically injured, and a military that seems determined to keep their skeletons in the closet.

The writing is tight and crisp. The characters are flawed, secretive, and loyal. And the plot is an intricate, exceptionally paced mystery full of twists, turns, revelations, deception, corruption, allegiances, power, combat, violence, the ins and outs of military life, and murder.

A Life to Kill is a without a doubt an intelligent, masterfully plotted, absorbing page-turner that had me hooked from the very first page. It’s fascinating, shocking, at times even disturbing, and definitely one of my favourite reads of the year.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

  

 

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

 

About Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall (formerly M. R. Hall) is an award-winning screenwriter and
former barrister. Educated at Hereford Cathedral School and Worcester
College, he lives a stone's throw from the Welsh border in Herefordshire,
England. He is married to journalist Patricia Carswell and they have two sons, Tom and Will. His other loves are beekeeping, boxing, trail running, and native woodlands.
A Life to Kill is the seventh novel in Matthew Hall's twice CWA Gold Daggernominated Coroner Jenny Cooper series.

 

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
@AuthorJenniferR @WmMorrowBks @goodreads

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways The Gown by Jennifer Robson @AuthorJenniferR @WmMorrowBks @goodreadsTitle: The Gown

Author: Jennifer Robson

Published by William Morrow on December 31, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 292

Format: Paperback

Source: William Morrow, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages.


Review:

Evocative, enchanting, and beautifully written!

The Gown is a captivating, sentimental tale predominantly set in London post-WWII, as well as present day, that follows the lives of three main characters.  Ann, a young talented embroider employed by the esteemed Norman Hartnell; Miriam, a Holocaust survivor and émigré from France who becomes Ann’s coworker and close friend; and Heather, Ann’s granddaughter who after discovering embroidered flowers in her grandmother’s possessions after her passing embarks on a journey to determine their significance.

The prose is eloquent and well turned.  The characters are flawed, multifaceted, hardworking, and brave. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive mix of drama, familial dynamics, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, passion, and courage; as well as an insightful look at life in postwar London and the importance of female friendships.

Overall, The Gown is a wonderful blend of historical facts and compelling fiction that’s mesmerizing, gripping, nostalgic and perfect for those who love anything royal.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

Thank you to William Morrow and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson first learned about the Great War from her father, acclaimed historian Stuart Robson, and later served as an official guide at the Canadian National War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France. A former copy editor, she holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from the University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children.

#BookReview
Game On by Kelly Jamieson
@KellyJamieson @readloveswept

#BookReview Game On by Kelly Jamieson @KellyJamieson @readlovesweptTitle: Game On

Author: Kelly Jamieson

Series: Aces Hockey #8

Published by Loveswept on January 15, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 250

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Loveswept, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

When the stakes are this high, it’s game on. . . .
 
Cam Brickley and his pro hockey teammates bet on everything: who can win five faceoffs in a row, who can do forty pushups in less than a minute, who can eat a ghost pepper without puking. But when his buddies bet him he can’t date the same woman—like, say, the hot blonde over at the bar—for two months and not fall in love, he’ll take that bet all day. Then he’ll laugh all the way to the hockey arena, where they’ll be washing his jock straps for the rest of the season, because Cam’s never giving up his bachelor lifestyle.

Olivia Lockwood, heiress to the Lockwood Industries fortune, is used to people using her for her money and family connections. When Cam Brickley hits on her in a club, Olivia’s first instinct is to brush him off. But he couldn’t be using her for her money, since he has more than enough of his own. Cam’s gorgeous and built, and it would be no hardship to go out with him . . . besides, he’d be the perfect spokesperson for the children’s charity she works with. Maybe it’s time for her to start using people.

Cam and Olivia are both in it for something. What they don’t know yet is that they’re playing for keeps.


Review:

Sporty, Sexy, and Sweet!

Game On is a passionate, lighthearted RomCom about the focused, determined Olivia who has no problem going on a few harmless dates with a hunky athlete if it means some free publicity for her children’s foundation and the hard-bodied, delicious Cam who’s so happy being a bachelor that he has no problem betting on his ability to not fall in love.

The writing is crisp and light. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are charismatic, fun-loving, and kind. And the plot is the perfect blend of heat, drama, emotion, humour, sassy banter, chemistry, friendship, love, and hockey.

Game On is the eighth and final story in the Aces Hockey series, and even though it’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye to the characters we’ve come to know and love from the previous novels, it is nevertheless a fabulous ending to a superb series that I will undoubtedly miss.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                  

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House – Loveswept, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kelly Jamieson

Kelly Jamieson is a USA Today bestselling author of over 40 romance novels and novellas. Her writing has been described as “emotionally complex”, “sweet and satisfying” and “blisteringly sexy”. She likes black coffee, white wine and high heels…and of course cheering on her Winnipeg Jets during hockey season!

#BookReview #BlogTour
Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale
@emilyharvale @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesourcesTitle: Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row

Author: Emily Harvale

Published by Crescent Gate Publishing on November 5, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 275

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Emily Harvale, Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

It’ll take a miracle to make Juliet’s Christmas merry, but Mistletoe Row is the place to be when you need some Christmas magic. 

The last person Juliet Bell expects to see when she returns home for Christmas is Harrison Bow. Especially with the most beautiful woman in the world by his side. Twenty years ago, Juliet and Harrison had the shortest romance in history, consisting of one date – and one blazing row. But Juliet will never admit when she’s wrong, and Harrison doesn’t forgive easily, so they haven’t seen, or spoken to one another since.

Harrison Bow vowed he’d never visit his grandfather at The Grange, again, or drive along Mistletoe Row, the scene of one of the unhappiest times of his life. He hasn’t been back for twenty years and he’s only here now because his brother pleaded with him to come. At least with his executive assistant joining him, he’ll be able to do some work. 

But Juliet’s sister, Zoe and Harrison’s brother, Luke have some surprises in store for their elder siblings, and so it seems does Fate. After Harrison risks his life to save Juliet, the least she can do is be nice. The problem is, Harrison is hotter than the log fire in The Mistletoe pub, and when she’s surrounded by twinkling lights and softly falling snow, it doesn’t take long for her to realise she’s in love with the man she thought she hated. Even if he doesn’t appear to be in love with her. 


Review:

Quaint, festive, and oh so romantic!

Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row is an enchanting tale that sweeps you away to the town of Mistletythe and into the life of the optimistic, kindhearted Juliet as she heads home for holidays, jobless, homeless and determined to avoid any of the occupants of The Grange, especially the handsome, successful Harrison Bow who broke her heart twenty years ago.

The prose is polished and light. The characterization is spot on with a cast of characters that are fun-loving, sentimental and endearing. And the plot is an irresistible blend of humour, heart, nostalgic moments, misunderstandings, family, friendship, tension, attraction, chemistry, spirited shenanigans, and Christmas cheer.

Overall, Bells and Bows on Mistletoe Row is another alluring, heartwarming, delightfully magical tale by Harvale that is without a doubt one of my favourite holiday reads this year!

 

This book is available now. 

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

 

 

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

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

 

#BookReview
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
@christinalauren @SimonSchusterCA @GalleryBooks

#BookReview My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren @christinalauren @SimonSchusterCA @GalleryBooksTitle: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Author: Christina Lauren

Published by Gallery Books on December 4, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Standis a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.


Review:

Amusing, smart, and adorably romantic!

My Favorite Half-Night Stand is an engaging, witty, friends-to-more romance that features the spunky, intelligent Millie whose finding it harder and harder to keep her attraction for her best friend a secret, and the charming and honest Reid who may finally realize everything he’s ever wanted or needed is standing right in front of him.

The writing is whimsical and crisp and uses a delightful mix of text messages, group chats, snappy dialogue, and first-person narration from dual points of view. The characterization is spot on with an incredible cast of characters who are quirky, charismatic, and genuine. And the plot is an irresistible blend of shameless flirting, friendship, family, light drama, tricky situations, spirited shenanigans, awkward moments, steamy romance, and the hilarious ups and downs of online dating.

I’ve always been a fan of Christina Lauren novels, and My Favorite Half-Night Stand has just become my new favourite. It’s outrageously funny, deliciously swoon-worthy and without a doubt one of the best rom-coms I’ve had the pleasure to read this year.

 

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 Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is the combined penname of longtime writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 International bestselling authors of The Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Dating You/Hating You, Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and the critically acclaimed Autoboyography.

Photograph by Alyssa Michelle.

#BookReview
Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent
@lizzienugent @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent @lizzienugent @SimonSchusterCATitle: Lying in Wait

Author: Liz Nugent

Published by Simon & Schuster on November 27, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 310

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The second heartstopping suspense novel by international bestselling author Liz Nugent—filled with dark secrets, twisted relationships, and unexpected surprises.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.

In 1980s Dublin, Lydia Fitzsimons seems to have the perfect life—wife of Andrew, a respected judge, and mistress of Avalon, the beautiful house where she grew up. Her pride and joy, however, is her only child, her son Laurence, to whom she is utterly, obsessively devoted.

But her husband’s murder of Annie Doyle, accidental or not, sets into motion a dark downward spiral. No one knows what Lydia and Andrew were doing with a drug-addled prostitute late at night on a deserted stretch of the strand near Dublin, but they stuffed her body into the trunk of their car and buried it in their tidy suburban garden, hoping that will put the matter to rest. Annie was a junkie from the wrong side of the tracks; surely no one will miss her or care to find out what happened to her.

Except that Annie has a sister. Her twin, Karen, who has fared much better in life, is desperate to find her. And when Karen crosses paths with Laurence, isolated and lonely, things begin to unravel. Laurence may be overweight and ungainly and bullied at school, but he’s more clever than he’s given credit for. He knows that something is very, very wrong in the Fitzsimons household—and he is determined to discover the truth…


Review:

Gothic, twisty, and downright creepy!

Lying in Wait is a compulsive, macabre, psychological thriller that isn’t so much a whodunit as a whydunit that delves into the complex dynamics between family members and reminds us just how controlling and possessive some of these relationships can truly be.

The prose is insightful, intense, and dark. The characters are obsessed, secretive, and perfectly unlikable. And the plot told from multiple perspectives and alternating timelines builds and unravels exquisitely into a story filled with unexpected twists, well-timed surprises, manipulation, fixation, ruthless deception, and pure wickedness.

Lying in Wait is an intelligent, murky, tragic tale that highlights the scheming, selfish, desperate side of human nature and the ability of even the most ordinary of people to commit the most heinous of crimes. It’s a tight, propulsive, shocking, must-read novel by Nugent that will grip you from the very first line, make your skin crawl throughout, and undoubtedly leave you wholly unnerved.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Liz Nugent

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

Photograph by Beta Bajgartova.

#BookReview
Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg
@randomhouse

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

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Series: Arthur Truluv #2

Published by Random House on November 13, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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


Review:

Honest, pensive, and affecting!

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

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

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

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Elizabeth Berg

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

Photo by Joyce Ravid

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

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

Author: Portia MacIntosh

Published by HQ Digital on October 8, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 208

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: HQ Digital, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Review:

Jolly, big-hearted, and delightfully fabulous!

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

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

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

 

This book is available now.

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

                                 

 

 

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

 

About Portia MacIntosh

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

 

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

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

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Published by Atria Books on October 30, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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


Review:

Evocative, absorbing, and incredibly affecting!

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

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

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

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Roxanne Veletzos

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

Photograph by Eric Lindstrom.

#BookReview
Game Changer by Rachel Reid
@akaRachelReid @CarinaPress

#BookReview Game Changer by Rachel Reid @akaRachelReid @CarinaPressTitle: Game Changer

Author: Rachel Reid

Series: Game Changers #1

Published by Carina Press on October 22, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 334

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Carina Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?


Review:

Seductive, passionate, and timely!

Game Changer is an engrossing, sensuous, sports romance that features the lonely, closeted Scott, and the handsome, fun-loving Kip as they engage in a love affair strife with issues of insecurities, hidden sexuality, and the stigma and stereotypical mentality surrounding professional sports.

The prose is fervent and sincere. The characters are well-drawn, vulnerable, and endearing. And the plot is an alluring tale full of explosive attraction, heartfelt emotion, friendship, family, acceptance, support, palpable chemistry, hockey, and love.

Overall, Game Changer is a provocative, heartwarming story about love, pure and simple, with no labels, no limits, and no regrets. It’s a wonderful debut for Reid that is without a doubt one of my favourite MM novels of the year, and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                  

 

 

 

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

 

About Rachel Reid

Rachel Reid is the pen name of Rachelle Goguen. She chose it because it is much easier to say, spell and remember than Rachelle Goguen!

Rachel writes cute, romantic smut, mostly about hockey players.

Rachelle co-hosts a comic book podcast called Living Between Wednesdays.

Rachel/Rachelle lives in Nova Scotia, Canada. She has always lived there, and it's looking like she probably always will. She has two boring degrees and two interesting kids.

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