#BookReview Darkness by Karen Robards

#BookReview Darkness by Karen Robards Title: Darkness

Author: Karen Robards

Published by: Gallery Books on Mar. 29, 2016

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 377

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?


Review:

This book has everything you look for in a romantic suspense novel. There’s a deserted, isolated setting. A woman in danger. And of course a tall, dark, and handsome stranger that comes to the rescue.

This story is well written, action-packed and sexy.

As most people know, Karen Robards is well known in this genre, and once again she has delivered.

 

#BookReview The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon

#BookReview The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon Title: The Confidant

Author: Hélène Grémillon

Published by: Penguin Books on Oct. 30, 2012

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 245

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

Paris, 1975. While sifting through condolence letters after her mother’s death, Camille finds a long, handwritten missive that she assumes came by mistake. But every Tuesday brings another installment from a stranger named Louis, a man separated from his first love, Annie, in the years before World War II. In his tale, Annie falls victim to the merciless plot of a wealthy, barren couple just as German troops arrive in Paris. But also awaiting Camille’s discovery is the other side of the story – one that calls into question Annie’s innocence and reveals the devastating consequences of revenge. As Camille reads on, she realizes that her own life may be the next chapter in this tragic story. 


Review:

This book intrigued me from the start.

The story is set in wartime Paris, and is a story within a story told from multiple characters’ points of view.  Each character is missing a piece of the story and what becomes clearly evident is the importance of perspective.

The writing is sophisticated. The characters are complex. And the plot takes us through twists and turns filled with betrayal, rejection, scorn and manipulation.

This is a quick but stimulating read. And I would recommend it, especially for book clubs, as I think it would be a good source for thoughtful discussion.

 

The Joy of Book Clubs!

So it always seems that at some point during the week I’m talking to someone about book clubs, whether it be family, friends or others.

There are several different types of book clubs.

There’s the Traditional Book Club, where everyone reads the same book chosen by the host and everyone discusses that specific book.

There’s the Themed Book Club, where the book is chosen based on a specific theme and everyone reads the same book and the meeting evolves around that theme. For example, if a book is chosen about India the host will make Indian food and the members will dress in Indian garb, etc.

Then there’s the Book-Exchange Book Club, where the host puts in four or five books they’ve recently read that they think the others will enjoy, discusses them, and then others who are interested in them borrow them for that month.

However, in the long run in doesn’t really matter what type of book club you participate in. They all have advantages and disadvantages. But in this time of busy lives and instant entertainment, any book club gives you the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life, read books that you may or may not usually read, expand you vocabulary and knowledge, have some good food, have a few drinks, and perhaps the best benefit of all, have the excuse to find some quiet time to sit down and read.

So the next time someone asks you to join a book club, don’t hesitate. As far I can see you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!   🙂

 

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran Title: Rebel Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Published by: Touchstone on Mar. 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 355

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.


Review:

I have to admit that when I picked up this book I knew very little about the Indian Rebellion against the British invasion in 1857, and I was not sure what to expect. Saying that, however, I was pleasantly surprised. 

This is the captivating and engaging story of Rani Lakshmibai, the Queen of Jhansi. And It is narrated by Sita, a young girl from a small village who grows up to become a Durgavasi, a select group of women who shield and protect the Queen.

It is a very interesting story about powerful women, independence, self identity, loyalty and sacrifice. The plot builds nicely. The characters are engaging. And the setting is vividly described.

It was a thoughtful, enjoyable read, and I hope that anyone who likes historical fiction will give it a try.

 

 

About Michelle Moran

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of seven historical novels. A native of southern California, she attended Pomona College, then earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher she used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction.

In 2012 Michelle was married in India, inspiring her seventh book, Rebel Queen, which is set in the East. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and archaeology. She is also fascinated by archaeogenetics, particularly since her children's heritages are so mixed. But above all these things Michelle is passionate about reading and can often be found with her nose in a good book. A frequent traveler, she currently resides with her husband, son, and daughter in the US. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

#BookReview Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes

#BookReview Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes Title: Nannyland

Author: Jane Elizabeth Hughes

Published by: Pocket Star on May 30, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pocket Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

This delightful, romantic debut follows a sophisticated Manhattanite who trades her fast-paced Wall Street life for the English countryside, and unexpectedly becomes a nanny to the children of a widowed British lord. Who is as infuriating as he is intriguing…

Jordy Greene has it all—the high-powered job, the high-octane New York lifestyle, the powerful lover—until she’s suddenly forced to flee the city. Running to avoid false charges of illegal trading and a destructive relationship, Jordy escapes to England. There she finds refuge in a cottage on the estate of the icy Lord John Grey—a descendant of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

The four rambunctious Grey children are in desperate need of a nanny, and Jordy is in desperate need of a purpose—so they plunge into an investigation of the Tudor queen’s mysterious life and shocking death. Amid flying subpoenas, willful adolescents, outraged aristocrats, and an unexpected attraction to Lord Grey, Jordy struggles to regain control of her life. In the midst of the chaos, can she find the kind of happiness she’d never thought to have?

If The Sound of Music and The Wolf of Wall Street had a child, it would be the captivating Nannyland!


Review:

When I first received this story for review I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This book is not the average romance story. It is smart, witty, interesting, engaging, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s set in the idyllic English countryside.

Aside from the main plot of Jordy finding the key to her happiness, there are several subplots involving investigations into securities fraud and historical research that keep you enthralled to the last page.

It is very well written, and the characters are charming, flawed, and lovable.

This is an easy, heart-warming story that will definitely make you smile.

 

Thank you to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard

#BookReview Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard Title: Lake of Dreams

Author: Linda Howard

Published by: Pocket Star on May 2, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 96

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pocket Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 6/10

Dreams and reality collide—with potentially deadly consequences—in this stunning novella from New York Timesbestselling author Linda Howard, available for the first time as a standalone ebook at an unbeatable price!

House painter Thea Marlow hasn’t been sleeping very well. Her nights are plagued by dreams, the setting by the water and the mysterious man who appears in them always the same. But the outcome of the dream changes nightly: sometimes the man loves her…and sometimes he kills her. Desperate for some much needed relaxation, Thea travels to her family’s remote country lake house. Imagine her surprise when a knock at the door reveals the man from her dreams…who happens to have just rented the house next door.

So will he love her—or will he kill her?

Originally published in the anthology Everlasting Love by Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Lael Miller, Kasey Michaels and Carla Neggers.


Review:

This is a short story novella that was previously released twenty years ago.

The story, itself, is a mix of romance, suspense, and the paranormal. And I would say it’s heavy on the romance and light on the suspense.

Unfortunately, for me, I found this story to be a little bit jumbled and a tad unrealistic. I also found the characterization to be quite flat.

I am a fan of Linda Howard, but this definitely wasn’t one of her best.

 

 

Thank you to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

#BookReview Something More Than This by Barbie Bohrman

#BookReview Something More Than This by Barbie Bohrman Title: Something More Than This

Author: Barbie Bohrman

Published by: Montlake Romance on Apr. 26, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 202

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Montlake Romance, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

Katy Lewis has it all: a sports reporting job she loves, a great roommate, and two brothers who, while nosy, always have her back. But when Conner Roberts, Katy’s unrequited first crush, suddenly shows up—and shows interest—after nine years, she reverts to a sweaty, panicked sixteen-year-old once more.

And if trying to read Conner’s signals isn’t tough enough, Katy’s heart is sending some mixed messages of its own. When a beautiful blonde coworker starts pursuing Katy’s boss, Dylan Sterling—her longtime mentor and friend—she realizes she may have a problem with that. A reunion with Conner is what she’s dreamed of for so long…so why can’t she stop thinking about Dylan?

For the first time ever, Katy must fact-check her heart. Should she go after the guy she thought she always wanted or see if there’s something more with the one who’s been there all along?


Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

This is a great friends-to-more contemporary romance novel that really did take me back to all those 80s movies we all love, like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles.

The characters were cute and lovable and made you root for them. And the plot flowed nicely with just a little angst, and a side order of sports, to keep you invested.

I recommend this story to anyone who wants a nice, sweet, easy read. You’ll love it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I might get to read Simon and Jonathan’s stories down the road.

 

This book is due to be released on April 26, 2016.

 

 

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

 

About Barbie Bohrman

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Barbie Bohrman dreamed of becoming an author. Long after she had given up, a book club’s prologue contest enticed her to give it one more go. What emerged were the beginnings of her debut novel, Promise Me. Now she’s living her dream and writing stories that entice readers to escape and break away from reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to get through the books on her Kindle (more than a thousand at last count) or watching Lost or Seinfeld. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

#BookReview The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

#BookReview The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall Title: The Wolf Border

Author: Sarah Hall

Published by: Harper on Jun. 9, 2015

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 6.5/10

The award-winning author of The Electric Michelangelo returns with her first novel in nearly six years, a literary masterpiece about the reintroduction of wild wolves into the United Kingdom.

She hears them howling along the buffer zone, a long harmonic.
One leading, then many.
At night there is no need to imagine, no need to dream.
They reign outside the mind.

Rachel Caine is a zoologist working in Nez Perce, Idaho, as part of a wolf recovery project. She spends her days, and often nights, tracking the every move of a wild wolf pack—their size, their behavior, their howl patterns. It is a fairly solitary existence, but Rachel is content.

When she receives a call from the wealthy and mysterious Earl of Annerdale, who is interested in reintroducing the grey wolf to Northern England, Rachel agrees to a meeting. She is certain she wants no part of this project, but the Earl’s estate is close to the village where Rachel grew up, and where her aging mother now lives in a care facility. It has been far too long since Rachel has gone home, and so she returns to face the ghosts of her past.

The Wolf Border is a breathtaking story about the frontier of the human spirit, from one of the most celebrated young writers working today.


Review:

This is a hard book for me to review. I actually picked it up a few months ago, started it, put it down, and only now just picked it up again to finish it.

This story involves two plots that run simultaneously to each other. One is about the wolves. The other is about Rachel, the zoologist that oversees them.

The plot of the wolves was very interesting and the author did a great job describing their behaviour and their interaction with nature. On the other hand, the plot of Rachel was a little less intriguing and focuses on familial dysfunction, detachment, and motherhood. 

The vocabulary of this story is very rich and the imagery is incredible. However, for me, the lacklustre characterization made the story, as a whole, a little flat and slow.

 

Some Noteworthy Books Released March 22, 2016

26109394
Fool Me Once

#1 New York Times bestseller Harlan Coben delivers his next impossible-to-put-down thriller.
 
In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself. 
 
Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.


25861096

James Patterson introduces his hilarious new heroine, Jacky Ha-Ha, a class clown who makes people laugh with her so they can’t laugh at her.

With her irresistible urge to tell a joke in every situation–even when she really, really shouldn’t–twelve-year-old Jacky Ha-Ha loves to make people laugh. And cracking wise helps distract her from thinking about not-so-funny things in her life, like her mom serving in a dangerous, faraway war, and a dad who’s hardly ever home. 

But no matter how much fun Jacky has, she can’t seem to escape her worries. So one starlit night, she makes a promise to keep her family together…even if she has to give up the one thing that makes her happy. But can she stop being Jacky Ha-Ha, if that’s who she really is?

#BookReview The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

#BookReview The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson Title: The Bookseller

Author: Cynthia Swanson

Published by: Harper Paperbacks on Mar. 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 9/10

The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . . 

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?


Review:

I loved this book.

This book was intriguing, insightful and intelligent. It gripped me from the beginning and it kept me enthralled till the very end.

It is a story that makes us think about the choices we make, the power of imagination, and our brain’s remarkable ability to cope.

This was well written and very unique. It is definitely a great choice for book clubs and it will certainly be on my “Must Read List” for 2016.

This book is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on Cynthia Swanson, visit her website at: integritymodern.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @cynswanauthor

 

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