#BookReview Transient Desires by Donna Leon @groveatlantic @PGCBooks #TransientDesires #CommissarioBrunettiSeries #DonnaLeon

#BookReview Transient Desires by Donna Leon @groveatlantic @PGCBooks #TransientDesires #CommissarioBrunettiSeries #DonnaLeon Title: Transient Desires

Author: Donna Leon

Series: Commissario Brunetti #30

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Mar. 9, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

In his many years as a commissario, Guido Brunetti has seen all manner of crime and known intuitively how to navigate the various pathways in his native city, Venice, to discover the person responsible. Now, in Transient Desires, the thirtieth novel in Donna Leon’s masterful series, he faces a heinous crime committed outside his jurisdiction. He is drawn in innocently enough: two young American women have been badly injured in a boating accident, joy riding in the Laguna with two young Italians. However, Brunetti’s curiosity is aroused by the behavior of the young men, who abandoned the victims after taking them to the hospital. If the injuries were the result of an accident, why did they want to avoid association with it?

As Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, investigate the incident, they discover that one of the young men works for a man rumored to be involved in more sinister nighttime activities in the Laguna. To get to the bottom of what proves to be a gut-wrenching case, Brunetti needs to enlist the help of both the Carabinieri and the Guardia di Costiera. Determining how much trust he and Griffoni can put in these unfamiliar colleagues adds to the difficulty of solving a peculiarly horrible crime whose perpetrators are technologically brilliant and ruthlessly organized.

Donna Leon’s Transient Desires is as powerful as any novel she has written, testing Brunetti to his limits and forcing him to listen very carefully for the truth.


Review:

Atmospheric, sinister, and engaging!

In this intriguing thirtieth instalment in the Commissario Brunetti series, Transient Desires, Leon has written a menacing tale that sees quirky Commissario Guido Brunetti immersed in an investigation that seems on the surface to involve two American women who have been beaten, abandoned, and left unconscious on the hospital docks, but which quickly turns into a much darker case involving human trafficking that will require the assistance of both the Carabinieri and Guardia Costiera to apprehend all those involved.

The prose is vivid and expressive. The characters are steadfast, intuitive, and a little jaded. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel seamlessly into an entertaining tale of dangerous endeavours, criminal behaviour, deduction, lies, exploitation, and Venetian Life.

Overall, Transient Desires is not especially fast-paced or action-packed but is still another absorbing, multi-layered, solid addition to this much-loved, highly-successful, enjoyable series.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                  

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Donna Leon

Donna Leon, born in New Jersey in 1942, has worked as a travel guide in Rome and as a copywriter in London. She taught literature in universities in Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia. Commissario Brunetti made her books world-famous. Donna Leon lived in Italy for many years, and although she now lives in Switzerland, she often visits Venice.

#BookReview Sandcastle Beach (Matchmaker Bay #3) by Jenny Holiday #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #JennyHoliday #SandcastleBeach #MatchmakerBaySeries

#BookReview Sandcastle Beach (Matchmaker Bay #3) by Jenny Holiday #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #JennyHoliday #SandcastleBeach #MatchmakerBaySeries Title: Sandcastle Beach

Author: Jenny Holiday

Series: Matchmaker Bay #3

Published by: Forever on Mar. 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 409

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8.5/10

From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot.

Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.

Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings?

Includes the bonus novella Once Upon a Bride!


Review:

Sparkling, big-hearted, and fun! 

Sandcastle Beach is a warm, amusing, enemies-to-more romance that transports you to the idyllic Moonflower Bay, Ontario and introduces you to the hardworking bar owner, Law, who is determined to expand his legacy and grandfather’s lager house into something more, and the fiery, creative Maya, who will do whatever it takes to keep her beloved theatre company solvent, profitable, and still running.

The writing is tender and light. The characters are fun-loving, kind, and endearing. And the plot is a spirited, push-pull blend of family, friendship, rivalry, community, adversity, touching moments, palpable attraction, chemistry, humourous hijinks, and swoon-worthy romance.

Sandcastle Beach is another uplifting, humorous, addictively entertaining tale by Holiday that is absolutely perfect for anyone who loves a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that’s not only heartwarming but also incredibly sweet and comical.

 

This book is available now. 

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

       

 

 

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

 

About Jenny Holiday

Jenny Holiday is a USA Today bestselling author who started writing at age nine when her awesome fourth-grade teacher gave her a notebook and told her to start writing some stories. That first batch featured mass murderers on the loose, alien invasions, and hauntings. (Looking back, she’s amazed no one sent her to a shrink.) She’s been writing ever since. After a detour to get a PhD in geography, she worked as a professional writer, producing everything from speeches to magazine articles. Later, her tastes having evolved from alien invasions to happily-ever-afters, she tried her hand at romance. She lives in London, Ontario, with her family.

#BookReview Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews @littlebrown @HBGCanada #WhoIsMaudDixon #AlexandraAndrews

#BookReview Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews @littlebrown @HBGCanada #WhoIsMaudDixon #AlexandraAndrews Title: Who Is Maud Dixon?

Author: Alexandra Andrews

Published by: Little Brown and Company on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.

But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…


Review:

Chilling, atmospheric, and ominous!

Who Is Maud Dixon? is a character-driven, psychological thrill ride involving the young, ambitious Florence Darrow, who after landing her dream job as an assistant to a famous writer, has no qualms in seizing an opportunity when it presents itself and dabbling in a little identity and literary theft in her ceaseless pursuit to become a world-class, successful writer.

The prose is intense and tight. The characters, including the devious, impulsive protagonist, are consumed, complex, and vulnerable. And the well-crafted, menacing plot builds nicely to create the perfect amount of tension and suspense as it unravels all the manipulative actions, questionable personalities, duplicitous motivations, and parasitic relationships within it.

Who Is Maud Dixon? is a tragic, unsettling, compelling novel by Andrews that with its beautiful Moroccan setting, self-absorbed, unscrupulous characters, and a plot reminiscent of Highsmith’s “The Talented Mr Ripley” is sure to have thriller fans excited and enthralled.

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Alexandra Andrews

Alexandra Andrews has worked as a journalist, editor and copywriter in New York and Paris. Who Is Maud Dixon? is her first novel. Publishers Weekly named her a “Writer to Watch” in 2021. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

#BookReview One Night with a Cowboy by Sara Richardson @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #SaraRichardson #OneNightwithaCowboy #SilveradoLakeSeries

#BookReview One Night with a Cowboy by Sara Richardson @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #SaraRichardson #OneNightwithaCowboy #SilveradoLakeSeries Title: One Night with a Cowboy

Author: Sara Richardson

Series: Silverado Lake #2

Published by: Forever on Mar. 9, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 365

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Sparks fly when a handsome cowboy and a strong-willed widow must work together, in this charming contemporary western romance from a national bestselling author — with a bonus story by Carly Bloom!

Rodeo cowboy Wes Harding left his family ranch after one reckless mistake cost his loved ones everything. But when his sister needs help, Wes agrees to come home and take the reins of their ranch’s big charity event. However, he didn’t plan for his distracting, stubborn co-hostess. One kiss with Thea throws his world off balance . . . and has Wes craving the family he’s never dared dreamed of.

Single mom Thea Davis doesn’t have time for an inexplicable, toe-curling attraction to Wes Harding—no matter how well he listens or how sweetly he treats her children. Her focus needs to be on holding her fragile family together. But the more time she spends with Wes, the more attached she—and her kids—become. With the week drawing to a close, can Wes convince her to give love a chance before she leaves Silverado Lake—and him—behind for good?

Includes the bonus novella It’s All About that Cowboy by Carly Bloom!


Review:

Hopeful, emotional, and charming!

One Night with a Cowboy is a delightfully heartwarming tale that sweeps you away to the beautiful mountains of Colorado and into the lives of Wes Harding, the rugged, hardworking bullfighter, and Thea Davies, the military widow and mother of two as they both learn together how to heal and move on from the guilt, grief, and regrets they harbour over their individual losses.

The writing is smooth and fluid. The characters are multi-layered, genuine, and considerate. And the plot is a sweet, engaging mix of tender moments, self-discovery, temptation, friendship, family, happiness, chemistry, and love.

One Night with a Cowboy is another adorable, addictive, compassionate addition to the Silverado Lake series by Richardson, and as always, after I finish any of her books, I’m already looking forward to reading whatever she publishes next.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

 

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

 

About Sara Richardson

Sara Richardson grew up chasing adventure in Colorado’s rugged mountains. She’s climbed to the top of a 14,000 foot peak at midnight, swum through Class IV rapids, completed her wilderness first-aid certification, and spent seven days at a time tromping through the wilderness with a thirty-pound backpack strapped to her shoulders.

Eventually Sara did the responsible thing and got an education in writing and journalism. After a brief stint in the corporate writing world, she stopped ignoring the voices in her head and started writing fiction. Now she uses her experience as a mountain adventure guide to write stories that incorporate adventure with romance. Sara lives and plays in Colorado, still indulging her adventurous spirit, with her saint of a husband and two young sons.

#BookReview The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn @SimonSchusterCA #TheGirlsAreAllSoNiceHere #LaurieElizabethFlynn

#BookReview The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn @SimonSchusterCA #TheGirlsAreAllSoNiceHere #LaurieElizabethFlynn Title: The Girls Are All So Nice Here

Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Published by: Simon & Schuster on Mar. 9, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

The Girls Are All So Nice Here opens when Ambrosia Wellington receives an invitation to her ten-year college reunion. Only, slipped in with all the expected information about lodging and the weekend’s schedule is an anonymous letter that says: “It’s time to talk about what we did.” Instantly, Ambrosia realizes that the secrets of her past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d thought. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did—and who she did it with. Larger-than-life Sloane Sullivan (“Sully”), who could make anyone do anything. The game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl, Amb’s angelic roommate, who paid the price.

Amb had thought that she and Sully had gotten away with what they did their first semester at Wesleyan. But as Amb receives increasingly menacing messages during the reunion, it becomes clear that she’s being circled by someone who wants more than just the truth. Amb discovers that her own memories don’t tell the whole story, and that her actions and friendship with Sully had even more disturbing consequences than she ever imagined.

Told in alternating timelines between the reunion and Ambrosia’s turbulent first months of college, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a gripping rollercoaster ride of a novel that examines the dark complexities of female friendship and the brutal lengths girls can go to take what they think they are owed.


Review:

Sinister, atmospheric, and disturbing!

The Girls Are All So Nice Here transports you into the life of Ambrosia Wellington as she reluctantly heads to her ten-year reunion at Wesleyan College, where the past will collide with the present, long-buried secrets will finally be unearthed, and her freshman year, mean-girl behaviour may at long last be punished.

The writing is tight and intense. The characterization is spot on with a cast of characters that are selfish, secretive, insecure, and unlikable. And the plot, using a past/present, back-and-forth style, is a suspenseful, twisty tale filled with friendship, drama, deception, jealousy, hatred, abuse, callousness, desperation, cruelty, and revenge.

Overall, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a tortuous, clever, creepy page-turner by Flynn that keeps you guessing from the very first page and leaves you chilled, surprised and thoroughly entertained.

 

This novel is available now.

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

              

 

 

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

 

About Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn is a former model who lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and three children. She is the author of three young adult novels: Firsts, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, along with Last Girl Lied To and All Eyes on Her, under the name L.E. Flynn. Her adult debut, The Girls Are All So Nice Here, has sold in nine territories and has been optioned for television by AMC.

Photo by Sandra Dufton.

#BookReview Last Call by Elon Green @CeladonBooks #ReadLastCall #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview Last Call by Elon Green @CeladonBooks #ReadLastCall #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: Last Call

Author: Elon Green

Published by: Celadon Books on Mar. 9, 2021

Pages: 272

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

The gripping true story, told here for the first time, of the Last Call Killer and the gay community of New York City that he preyed upon.

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.


Review:

Engrossing, graphic, and gritty!

Last Call is the candid, comprehensive true story of the grisly murder and dismemberment of multiple gay men in Manhattan during the late 80s, early 90s, including an in-depth look into the lives of the victims, the investigations and media attention (or lack thereof), the political climate and social atmosphere of the time, and the scientific breakthrough that ultimately led to the killer’s identification and subsequent incarceration.

It is without a doubt an insightful, disturbing, exceptionally descriptive, well-researched tale by Green that left me horrified, satisfied, and intrigued to learn more, and is definitely one of the best true-crime stories I’ve read in quite some time.

This novel is available on March 9, 2021.

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

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elon Green

ELON GREEN has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Columbia Journalism Review, and appears in Sarah Weinman's forthcoming anthology of true crime. He has been an editor at Longform for nearly a decade.

#BookReview We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker @RaincoastBooks @HenryHolt #WeBeginattheEnd #ChrisWhitaker

#BookReview We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker @RaincoastBooks @HenryHolt #WeBeginattheEnd #ChrisWhitaker Title: We Begin at the End

Author: Chris Whitaker

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Raincoast Books

Book Rating: 10/10

There are two kinds of families: the ones we are born into and the ones we create.

Walk has never left the coastal California town where he grew up. He may have become the chief of police, but he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released.

Duchess is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Her mother, Star, grew up with Walk and Vincent. Walk is in overdrive trying to protect them, but Vincent and Star seem bent on sliding deeper into self-destruction. Star always burned bright, but recently that light has dimmed, leaving Duchess to parent not only her mother but her five-year-old brother. At school the other kids make fun of Duchess―her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Rules are for other people. She’s just trying to survive and keep her family together.

A fortysomething-year-old sheriff and a thirteen-year-old girl may not seem to have a lot in common. But they both have come to expect that people will disappoint you, loved ones will leave you, and if you open your heart it will be broken. So when trouble arrives with Vincent King, Walk and Duchess find they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.

Chris Whitaker has written an extraordinary novel about people who deserve so much more than life serves them. At times devastating, with flashes of humor and hope throughout, it is ultimately an inspiring tale of how the human spirit prevails and how, in the end, love―in all its different guises―wins.


Review:

Beautiful, poignant, and incredibly heart-wrenching!

We Begin at the End is a tragic, moving, emotionally-charged novel that takes you into the lives of a handful of people, including the unforgettable, 13-year-old, self-imposed outlaw, Duchess Radley, whose worlds have been irrevocably changed by a fatal accident that occurred thirty years prior that left one of their own dead, another incarcerated for three decades, and the rest haunted and struggling to survive the inevitable repercussions and fallout.

The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are complex, scarred, and conflicted. And the plot is a compelling, sobering tale of life, love, loss, family, friendship, grief, guilt, denial, secrets, abuse, neglect, self-preservation, violence, redemption, and survival.

Overall, We Begin at the End will make you think, it will make you cry, and it will resonate with you long after the final page. It’s an impactful, enthralling, hopeful tale by Whitaker that uses extraordinary character development to weave a combination of an impressive, intricate mystery and a heartbreaking, bittersweet love story all steeped in an abundance of tragedy and pain.

This book is available now. 

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Chris Whitaker

Chris Whitaker lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and three young children. When not writing he works part-time at a local library, where he gets to surround himself with books. His own authored books include Tall Oaks and All the Wicked Girls.

Photo by David Calvert.

#BookReview Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #FarahHeron #AccidentallyEngaged

#BookReview Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron @ReadForeverPub @GrandCentralPub #ReadForever #ReadForeverPub #ReadForever2021 #FarahHeron #AccidentallyEngaged Title: Accidentally Engaged

Author: Farah Heron

Published by: Forever on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 9/10

Reena Manji doesn’t love her career, her single status, and most of all, her family inserting themselves into every detail of her life. But when caring for her precious sourdough starters, Reena can drown it all out. At least until her father moves his newest employee across the hall–with hopes that Reena will marry him.

But Nadim’s not like the other Muslim bachelors-du-jour that her parents have dug up. If the Captain America body and the British accent weren’t enough, the man appears to love eating her bread creations as much as she loves making them. She sure as hell would never marry a man who works for her father, but friendship with a neighbor is okay, right? And when Reena’s career takes a nosedive, Nadim happily agrees to fake an engagement so they can enter a couples video cooking contest to win the artisan bread course of her dreams.

As cooking at home together brings them closer, things turn physical, but Reena isn’t worried. She knows Nadim is keeping secrets, but it’s fine— secrets are always on the menu where her family is concerned. And her heart is protected… she’s not marrying the man. But even secrets kept for self preservation have a way of getting out, especially when meddling parents and gossiping families are involved.


Review:

Sweet, humorous, and sassy!

Accidentally Engaged is a fresh, flirty, heartwarming tale that takes you into the life of Reena Manji, a hardworking, young woman of Indian heritage who endeavours to do whatever it takes to change all aspects of her humdrum life, including faking an engagement with the man her parents have promised her to and whom she refuses to marry in order to enter a coveted cooking show contest specifically for couples.

The prose is heartfelt and light. The characters are kind, supportive, and eccentric. And the plot is a push-pull tale of familial responsibility, intrusive parents, witty banter, tender moments, goals, expectations, secrets, friendship, chemistry, introspection, honesty, and love.

Overall, Accidentally Engaged has everything you look for in a rom-com as well as the added bonus of a touch of culture, traditions, weighty issues, and delectable goodies. I enjoyed every delicious minute that had me smiling, laughing, and definitely making too much homemade bread.

 

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Farah Heron

After a childhood raised on Bollywood, Monty Python, and Jane Austen, Farah Heron wove complicated story arcs and uplifting happily ever afters in her daydreams while pursuing careers in human resources and psychology. She started writing those stories down a few years ago, and never looked back. She writes romantic comedies and women’s fiction full of huge South Asian families, delectable food, and most importantly, brown people falling stupidly in love. She lives in Toronto with her husband, two children, and a rabbit named Strawberry. She is considering getting a cat.

Photo by James Heron.

#BookReview Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig @WmMorrowBooks #BandofSisters #LaurenWillig

#BookReview Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig @WmMorrowBooks #BandofSisters #LaurenWillig Title: Band of Sisters

Author: Lauren Willig

Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks on Mar. 2, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 528

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: William Morrow

Book Rating: 10/10

A group of young women from Smith College risk their lives in France at the height of World War I in this sweeping novel based on a true story—a skillful blend of Call the Midwife and The Alice Network—from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Willig.

A scholarship girl from Brooklyn, Kate Moran thought she found a place among Smith’s Mayflower descendants, only to have her illusions dashed the summer after graduation. When charismatic alumna Betsy Rutherford delivers a rousing speech at the Smith College Club in April of 1917, looking for volunteers to help French civilians decimated by the German war machine, Kate is too busy earning her living to even think of taking up the call. But when her former best friend Emmeline Van Alden reaches out and begs her to take the place of a girl who had to drop out, Kate reluctantly agrees to join the new Smith College Relief Unit.

Four months later, Kate and seventeen other Smithies, including two trailblazing female doctors, set sail for France. The volunteers are armed with money, supplies, and good intentions—all of which immediately go astray. The chateau that was to be their headquarters is a half-burnt ruin. The villagers they meet are in desperate straits: women and children huddling in damp cellars, their crops destroyed and their wells poisoned. 

Despite constant shelling from the Germans, French bureaucracy, and the threat of being ousted by the British army, the Smith volunteers bring welcome aid—and hope—to the region. But can they survive their own differences? As they cope with the hardships and terrors of the war, Kate and her colleagues find themselves navigating old rivalries and new betrayals which threaten the very existence of the Unit.

With the Germans threatening to break through the lines, can the Smith Unit pull together and be truly a band of sisters?  


Review:

Poignant, affecting, and incredibly immersive!

Band of Sisters is an absorbing, stirring tale set in German-Occupied France during WWI that follows seventeen young American women from Smith College as they embark on a mission that doesn’t quite go as smoothly as planned, to befriend and use their own unique skillsets to provide relief, food, medical care, and education to the villagers whose lives have been decimated by war.

The prose is seamless and vivid. The characters are courageous, driven, and resilient. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel into a sweeping saga of life, loss, secrets, insecurities, self-discovery, heartbreak, determination, survival, tragedy, and friendship.

Overall, Band of Sisters is a rich, evocative, beautifully written novel by Willig that grabs you from the very first page and is sure to be a big hit with book clubs and historical fiction fans everywhere. I absolutely devoured it, and it is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Website.

#BlogTour #BookReview If I Fall by Merilyn Davies @arrowpublishing #IfIFall #MerilynDavies

#BlogTour #BookReview If I Fall by Merilyn Davies @arrowpublishing #IfIFall #MerilynDavies Title: If I Fall

Author: Merilyn Davies

Published by: Arrow on Mar. 1, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 400

Format: eBook

Source: Arrow Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A gritty, heart-stopping crime thriller from an exciting new voice in crime writing

We were told to meet at a rooftop bar.

Four friends, bound by one terrible secret.

No one knew why we were there.

Then we saw a woman, watched as she fell from the edge and plunged to her death.

The police think it’s suicide, but I know better.

Someone is sending a message.


Review:

Tortuous, gritty, and addictive!

If I Fall is a malicious, chilling thriller that sees DS Nell Jackson working once again with Crime Analyst Carla Brown when the apparent suicide of a homeless women leads back to a small group of friends who seem to be covering up sinfully wicked actions from the past.

The prose is crisp and tight. The characters are flawed, troubled, and authentic. And the plot is an intense, gripping tale full of twists, turns, intrigue, deception, revenge, religious connotations, suspicious personalities, abuse, bigotry, violence, and murder.

Overall, If I Fall is a raw, cunning, intricate tale by Davies that’s another promising addition to what could turn out to be with its well-drawn, intriguing characters and darkly creative storylines an amazing, must-read series.

 

This book is available now.

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

        

 

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House UK – Arrow Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Merilyn Davies

Merilyn Davies is a former Crime Analyst for the Metropolitan Police and she is married to a serving officer with the Met. She was co-founder of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival and now works for Oxford City Council. She lives in Oxfordshire with her family.

 

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