8.5/10

#BookReview
The Lie by Helen Dunmore

#BookReview The Lie by Helen DunmoreTitle: The Lie

Author: Helen Dunmore

Published by Windmill Books on May 8, 2014

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers.

Cornwall, 1920, early spring.
A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family. Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.

Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him. He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?


Review:

Extremely compelling, poignant, and hauntingly realistic!

This is a novel that reminds us of the considerable physical and psychological horrors of war and their effects on both the soldiers themselves and the loved ones they left behind.

It is a subtle, but deeply moving story about familial relationships, friendship, loss, guilt, grief, survival and ultimately love.

The writing is clear and precise. The prose is beautiful and poetic. The settings are vividly described. And the characters are strong and multifaceted, especially Daniel, who is resilient, damaged, lonely, and empathetic. 

This truly is a powerful, heartbreaking story that I won’t soon forget.

 

 

About Helen Dunmore

Helen Dunmore is the author of twelve books, including The Greatcoat, The Betrayal, a New York Times Editors’ Choice; The Siege, a best seller and finalist for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award; and A Spell of Winter, winner of the Orange Prize.

Helen Dunmore (1952 – 2017)

#BookReview
A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams
@bcwilliamsbooks

#BookReview A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams @bcwilliamsbooksTitle: A Certain Age

Author: Beatriz Williams

Published by William Morrow on June 28, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 327

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: William Morrow, Edelweiss

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, brings the Roaring Twenties brilliantly to life in this enchanting and compulsively readable tale of intrigue, romance, and scandal in New York Society, brimming with lush atmosphere, striking characters, and irresistible charm.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband. 

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.


Review:

This is a riveting tale of passion, adultery, jealousy, love, loss, war, and murder.

The story is set in New York City, in the prosperous banking days of the early 1920s, complete with lustful indulgences, free-flowing gin, and copious amounts of cigarettes.

It is told from two differing perspectives. Theresa, a wealthy middle-aged woman, who enjoys her life as a married socialite, but at the same time is obsessed with her younger lover. And Sophie, a mother-less young woman, who yearns for more independence and freedom, and yet finds herself courted and betrothed to a gentleman almost 20-years her senior.

The writing is elegant and descriptive. The characters are glamorous, multi-faceted and flawed. And the plot is fast-paced, creative, and unique, with a past/present style, that gives depth, understanding, and suspense to the story line.

This is an extremely engaging story that will captivate you from the opening extract right through to the final page, and I highly recommend it for book club enthusiasts and historical fiction lovers everywhere.

 

This novel is due to be published on June 28, 2016. 

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to Edelweiss, especially William Morrow, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Beatriz Williams

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Along the Infinite Sea, A Certain Age, and several other works of historical fiction. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA in Finance from Columbia University, Beatriz worked as a communications and corporate strategy consultant in New York and London before she turned her attention to writing novels that combine her passion for history with an obsessive devotion to voice and characterization. Beatriz’s books have won numerous awards, have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and appear regularly in bestseller lists around the world.

Born in Seattle, Washington, Beatriz now lives near the Connecticut shore with her husband and four children, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

#BookReview
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

#BookReview The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita LeganskiTitle: The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow

Author: Rita Leganski

Published by Harper Paperbacks on February 26, 2013

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn’t make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows Bonaventure’s silence is filled with resonance – a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure’s remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mere Letice, plagued by grief and long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.


Review:

This is a bittersweet, sophisticated novel that reminds us of the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

It is a lovely story that touches on familial relationships, love, loss, guilt, grief, and ultimately forgiveness.

It is exquisitely written. The prose is beautiful. The setting is vividly described. And the characters are well-developed and complex, especially the protagonist, Bonaventure Arrow, who is strong, brave and empathetic. 

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

 

#BookReview
The Stepmother by Claire Seeber

#BookReview The Stepmother by Claire SeeberTitle: The Stepmother

Author: Claire Seeber

Published by Bookouture on July 15, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 345

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Bookouture, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The perfect wife. A fairytale family. Don’t believe your eyes…
Jeanie and Matthew are a happily married couple who both have teenage children from previous relationships.

No one said it would be easy to raise a blended family under one roof but Jeanie and Matthew are strong. They will make it work.

And whilst Jeanie’s step-daughter Scarlett rejects her, Jeanie will just have to try harder to win her over.

But Jeanie has a past. A terrible secret she thought she’d buried a long time ago. And now, it’s coming to the surface, threatening to destroy her new marriage.

Someone is playing a terrifying game on Jeanie and she must put a stop to it once and for all.

After all, a fairytale needs a happy ending … doesn’t it?

A compelling, dark and twisty psychological thriller that will grip fans of Behind Closed Doors, Between You and Me and The Teacher.


Review:

Fast-paced, dark, intense, and suspenseful!

This is a psychological roller coaster ride of manipulation, lies, secrets, jealousy, and revenge.

The main character, Jeanie, is kind-hearted, confused, and naive. And the supporting characters are selfish, troubled, unscrupulous and in most cases loathsome.

The writing is clear and impactful. And the plot is filled with lots of tension, mysterious incidents, and numerous twists and turns.

This is definitely not your usual fairy tale and you won’t be humming the Brady Bunch theme song, but if you love page-turning thrillers you can’t go wrong with this one.

 

This book is due to be published on July 15, 2016.

 

 

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

#BookReview
Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French

#BookReview Melody Bittersweet and the Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty FrenchTitle: Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency

Author: Kitty French

Series: The Chapelwick Mysteries #1

Published by Bookouture on July 14, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 290

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Bookouture, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Life’s tough for Melody Bittersweet.

She’s single, addicted to sugar and super heroes, her family are officially bonkers, and she sees dead people. Is it any wonder no-one’s swiping right on Tinder?
Waking up lonely on her twenty seventh birthday, Melody finally snaps. She can’t carry on basing all of her life decisions on the advice of her magic 8 ball; things have got to change.

Fast forward two months, and she’s now the proud proprietor of her very own ghostbusting agency – kind of like in the movies but without the dodgy white jumpsuits. She’s also flirting with her ex Leo Dark, fraternising with her enemy in alleyways, and she’s somehow ended up with a pug called Lestat.

Life just went from dull to dynamite and it’s showing no sign of slowing up anytime soon. Melody’s been hired to clear Scarborough House of its incumbent ghosts, there’s the small matter of a murder to solve, and then there’s the two very handsome, totally inappropriate men hoping to distract her from the job…

Welcome to Chapelwick, home of the brand new and hilarious Girls Ghostbusting Agency series, where things really do go bump in the night.


Review:

Highly Imaginative, entertaining, and down-right funny!

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this novel, but boy was I pleasantly surprised.

This story has an extraordinary cast of characters that are lovable and unique, from the eccentric, quirky Melody Bittersweet, right down to Babs, the vintage company van and Lestat, the one-eared pug.

The writing is straightforward and smooth. And the plot is jam-packed full of oddball situations, witty banter, a dash of romance, and a century-old mystery.

This novel really is a hoot from start to finish. And I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to find out what kind of hijinks, The Girls’ Ghostbusting Agency, gets up to next.

 

This book is due to be published on July 14, 2016

 

 

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

#BookReview
Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst
 @jenniferprobst

#BookReview Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst @jenniferprobstTitle: Everywhere and Every Way

Author: Jennifer Probst

Series: Billionaire Builders #1

Published by Gallery Books on May 31, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 367

Format: eBook

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Hot on the heels of her beloved Marriage to a Billionaire novels, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst nails it with the first in an all-new sexy romance series featuring red-hot contractor siblings who give the Property Brothers a run for their money!

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?


Review:

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Once again, Jennifer Probst has written a steamy contemporary romance novel that is sexy, smart, and funny.

This is a sizzling, easy read that mixes, a handsome, hard-bodied contractor and a beautiful, southern designer, with the tried-and-true, client-to-more plot.

The characters are engaging, charming, cheeky, and memorable. And as always, the chemistry between the characters is exceptional. 

This is a really enjoyable read that is perfect for the beach, summer, or anytime!

I look forward to reading the next book in the Billionaire Builders series, Dalton Pierce’s story, when it is published in early 2017.

And if you haven’t previously read any other novels by this author, I highly recommend the Marriage to a Billionaire series. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/Indigo

 

 

About Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the NYT, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012, and spent 26 weeks on the NY Times. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a "romance phenom" by Kirkus Reviews. She loves hearing from readers.

#BookReview
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

#BookReview Don’t You Cry by Mary KubicaTitle: Don't You Cry

Author: Mary Kubica

Published by MIRA on May 17, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession 

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew. 

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.  

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.


Review:

This is a dark, intelligent, psychological thriller that will have you asking yourself, “How well do we really know someone?”

The story is told from two different perspectives. One is that of Quinn, a young woman living in Chicago whose roommate, Esther, has gone missing. And the other is that of Alex, an 18-year-old boy living in a small town 70-miles outside of Chicago who recently noticed a strange woman wandering around the town. These two characters have never met and you are left to puzzle how and when their two paths will collide throughout the novel.

The characters are multi-layered, complex and empathetic. The story is skillfully written. And the multiple plots will have you pondering each and every twist and turn.

This story is not full of action or extremely suspenseful. However, the slow build will keep you enthralled and captivated until the very end.

I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it

 

#BookReview
Lost and Gone Forever by Alex Grecian

#BookReview Lost and Gone Forever by Alex GrecianTitle: Lost and Gone Forever

Author: Alex Grecian

Series: Scotland Yard's Murder Squad #5

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on May 17, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 375

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

Many changes have happened to the Murder Squad. Rash actions have cost Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith his job, and in response he has set up his own private detective agency. Inspector Walter Day has been missing for a year, and no one knows where he is—though there is a strong suspicion that Saucy Jack has him. Hammersmith has made finding Day his primary case, and he has company—a pair of bounty hunters, a man and a woman. It is only gradually that he has come to realize that they are not what they seem . . .


Review:

This novel is thrilling and suspenseful.

Once again, Alex Grecian has created a gripping historical mystery in the dark, gritty streets of Victorian London in this fifth book in the Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad series.

The plot is interesting. The depiction of nineteenth century London is spot on. And all the usual cast of characters are back, flaws and all, for another round against the evils that humanity can spawn.

It is, truly, a great page turner and you don’t want to miss it.

If you haven’t read the other books in the series, I would suggest you read at least books #1, 3, and 4, although it’s not necessary, to truly appreciate the continuing storyline and character development.

 

BookReview
Mister O by Lauren Blakely

BookReview Mister O by Lauren BlakelyTitle: Mister O

Author: Lauren Blakely

Series: Big Rock #2

Published by Lauren Blakely Books on May 2, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 306

Format: eBook

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

From the NYT Bestselling author of BIG ROCK, comes a hot and hilarious new standalone…

Just call me Mister O. Because YOUR pleasure is my super power. 

Making a woman feel ‘oh-god-that’s-good’ is the name of the game, and if a man can’t get the job done, he should get the hell out of the bedroom. I’m talking toe-curling, mind-blowing, sheet-grabbing ecstasy. Like I provide every time.

I suppose that makes me a superhero of pleasure, and my mission is to always deliver.

But then I’m thrown for a loop when a certain woman asks me to teach her everything about how to win a man. The only problem? She’s my best friend’s sister, but she’s far too tempting to resist–especially when I learn that sweet, sexy Harper, has a dirty mind too and wants to put it to good use. What could possibly go wrong as I give the woman I’ve secretly wanted some no-strings-attached lessons in seduction?

No one will know, even if we send a few dirty sexts. Okay, a few hundred. Or if the zipper on her dress gets stuck. Not on that! Or if she gives me those f*&k-me-eyes on the train in front of her whole family.

The trouble is the more nights I spend with her in bed, the more days I want to spend with her out of bed. And for the first time ever, I’m not only thinking about how to make a woman cry out in pleasure –I’m thinking about how to keep her in my arms for a long time to come.

Looks like the real Adventures of Mister Orgasm have only just begun….

**MISTER O is a standalone romantic comedy and it follows supporting characters first introduced in BIG ROCK**


Review:

This is a steamy, contemporary romance novel.

The characters are quirky, charming, and engaging. And the story is smart, sexy, and at times laugh-out-loud funny.

This is truly a hot rom com, that mixes interesting characters, a comic book creator and a magician, with the tried-and-true, best friend’s little sister plot.

Once again Lauren Blakely has written a highly entertaining novel that shouldn’t be missed.

 

#BookReview
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

#BookReview Miller’s Valley by Anna QuindlenTitle: Miller's Valley

Author: Anna Quindlen

Published by Random House on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” 

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.


Review:

This is a very interesting and intriguing story.

It is a sobering novel that reminds us that life is short and precious, and that everyone and everything that enters our life shapes us in some way and makes us who we are today.

It touches on familial dynamics, secrets, friendship, unconditional love, and the true meaning of home.

This story is well written. The characters are complex and real. And the first-person narration, by Mimi, captures you from the beginning and sweeps you along through her life’s highs and lows effortlessly.

This is a quiet, subtle story with a powerful impact that I think would be a shame to miss.

 

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