Format: ARC

#BookReview The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale @RKapelkeDale @StMartinsPress #TheBallerinas #RachelKapelkeDale #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale @RKapelkeDale @StMartinsPress #TheBallerinas #RachelKapelkeDale #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: The Ballerinas

Author: Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Dec. 7, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 7/10

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.


Review:

Gloomy, consuming, and tragic!

The Ballerinas is an ominous, gritty, character-driven tale that takes you into the lives of three friends, Delphine, Lindsay, and Margaux, as they each struggle to find some semblance of control, power, and love in a life littered with competition, dysfunction, self-obsession, and insecurities.

The prose is tight and intense. The characters are disciplined, secretive, and damaged. And the plot is a slow-burning, immersive tale full of life, loss, deception, desperation, friendship, drama, manipulation, jealousy, obsession, dedication, betrayal, and ruthless ambition.

Overall, The Ballerinas is a dark, ominous, astute tale by Kapelke-Dale that I found a little slow to start but, ultimately, did a remarkable job of delving into the complex dynamics between friends and highlighting just how gruelling, parasitic and toxic the world of ballet can truly be.

 

This book is available on December 7, 2021.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel Kapelke-Dale is the co-author of GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND (Penguin 2014), a memoir about the significance and nuances of female friendships. The author of Vanity Fair Hollywood's column "Advice from the Stars," Kapelke-Dale spent years in intensive ballet training before receiving a BA from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and a PhD from University College London. She currently lives in Paris.

Photo by author.

#BookReview The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond @michellerichmon @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #TheWonderTest #MichelleRichmond

#BookReview The Wonder Test by Michelle Richmond @michellerichmon @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #TheWonderTest #MichelleRichmond Title: The Wonder Test

Author: Michelle Richmond

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Jul. 6, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 430

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Escaping New York City and the espionage case that made her question everything, recently widowed FBI Agent Lina Connerly returns home to sell the house she has inherited in tony Greenfield, California. With her teenage son Rory, Lina hopes to reassemble her life, reevaluate her career, and find a clear way forward. Adrift and battling insomnia, she discovers that her father’s sleepy hometown has been transformed into a Silicon Valley suburb on steroids, obsessed with an annual exam called The Wonder Test. When students at her son’s high school go missing, reappearing under mysterious circumstances on abandoned beaches, Lina must summon her strength and her investigative instincts, pushing her own ethical boundaries to the limits in order to solve the crimes. Meanwhile, an old espionage case called Red Vine keeps calling her back into the fold. While Lina struggles to balance her new role as a single mother and the complex counterintelligence puzzles she is so adept at solving, Greenfield’s shadowy dangers creep closer to her own home.

A searing view of a culture that puts the wellbeing of children at risk for advancement and prestige, and a captivating story of the lengths a mother will go for her son.


Review:

Suspenseful, edgy, and chilling!

The Wonder Test is a brisk, menacing tale that introduces us to FBI agent Lina Connerly, a recent widow who, after both the loss of her husband and her father, moves to Silicon Valley where her teenage son can attend the prestigious, local public school and she can tidy up her father’s affairs. But when her son’s girlfriend Caroline goes missing on the eve of the annual “Wonder Test”, and the case looks eerily similar to that of three other students who previously vanished without a trace only to reappear a week later naked, bald, and malnourished, this idyllic spot suddenly seems a little less perfect and danger seems to be lurking around every corner.

The prose is intricate and tight. The characters are inquisitive, tenacious, and intelligent. And the plot unravels and intertwines effortlessly into a sinister tale of deception, manipulation, secrets, power, privilege, revelations, gossip, grief, deviance, and malicious intentions.

Overall, The Wonder Test is a shrewd, sharp, intense thrill ride by Richmond that highlights just how dark, dangerous, and ruthless some people can truly be, especially when driven to conceal an underworld filled with lust, greed, and sinful proclivities.

 

This book 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 Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels and story collections, including The Marriage Pact, Golden State, The Year of Fog, and Hum. She received the Truman Capote Prize for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Short Story. Her books have been published in thirty languages. She lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

Photo by Nick Elliott.

#BookReview Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge @colleengleason @KensingtonBooks #MurderatMallowanHall #ColleenCambridge

#BookReview Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge @colleengleason @KensingtonBooks #MurderatMallowanHall #ColleenCambridge Title: Murder at Mallowan Hall

Author: Colleen Cambridge

Series: Phyllida Bright Mystery #1

Published by: Kensington Books on Oct. 26, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Kensington Books

Book Rating: 8.5/10

The first in an exciting new historical mystery series set in the home of Agatha Christie!

Colleen Cambridge’s charming and inventive new historical series introduces an unforgettable heroine in Phyllida Bright, fictional housekeeper for none other than famed mystery novelist Agatha Christie. When a dead body is found during a house party at the home of Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan, it’s up to famous author’s head of household, Phyllida Bright, to investigate…

Tucked away among Devon’s rolling green hills, Mallowan Hall combines the best of English tradition with the modern conveniences of 1930. Housekeeper Phyllida Bright, as efficient as she is personable, manages the large household with an iron fist in her very elegant glove. In one respect, however, Mallowan Hall stands far apart from other picturesque country houses…

The manor is home to archaeologist Max Mallowan and his famous wife, Agatha Christie. Phyllida is both loyal to and protective of the crime writer, who is as much friend as employer. An aficionado of detective fiction, Phyllida has yet to find a gentleman in real life half as fascinating as Mrs. Agatha’s Belgian hero, Hercule Poirot. But though accustomed to murder and its methods as frequent topics of conversation, Phyllida is unprepared for the sight of a very real, very dead body on the library floor…

A former Army nurse, Phyllida reacts with practical common sense–and a great deal of curiosity. It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses during a weekend party. Now, Phyllida not only has a houseful of demanding guests on her hands–along with a distracted, anxious staff–but hordes of reporters camping outside. When another dead body is discovered–this time, one of her housemaids–Phyllida decides to follow in M. Poirot’s footsteps to determine which of the Mallowans’ guests is the killer. With help from the village’s handsome physician, Dr. Bhatt, Mr. Dobble, the butler, along with other household staff, Phyllida assembles the clues. Yet, she is all too aware that the killer must still be close at hand and poised to strike again. And only Phyllida’s wits will prevent her own story from coming to an abrupt end…


Review:

Mysterious, atmospheric, and delightfully entertaining!

Murder at Mallowan Hall is a clue-like murder mystery set in England at the home of Max Mallowan and Agatha Christie during the 1930s that features Phyllida Bright, a housekeeper extraordinaire who, after stumbling upon the body of a last-minute, previously uninvited guest to the manor, and with a lack of confidence in the local Constable and Scotland Yard inspector sent to investigate the case, endeavours to solve not just one, but ultimately two murders by using her knowledge and love of Hercule Poirot and a little extra help from some of the other members of staff.

The prose is descriptive and light. The characters, including the intelligent, independent heroine, are multi-layered, intriguing, and well-developed. And the plot is a well-paced whodunit full of red herrings, suspects, amateur sleuthing, deduction, attraction, and of course, a touch of the unexpected.

Murder at Mallowan Hall is the first book in the Phyllida Bright Mystery series, and if you love historical mysteries, this one won’t disappoint. It’s an entertaining, cosy, satisfying debut by Cambridge, and I can guarantee I will definitely be keeping my eye out for book number two.

 

This novel is available now.

Preorder now from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links!

            

 

 

 

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

 

About Colleen Cambridge

Colleen Cambridge is a pseudonym for a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than eight languages. She lives in the Midwest and is hard at work on her next novel.

#BookReview Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman @suzanne21702 @HarlequinBooks #SistersoftheGreatWar #SuzanneFeldman #MiraBooks #HTPBooks

#BookReview Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman @suzanne21702 @HarlequinBooks #SistersoftheGreatWar #SuzanneFeldman #MiraBooks #HTPBooks Title: Sisters of the Great War

Author: Suzanne Feldman

Published by: MIRA on Oct. 26, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Harlequin Trade Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Inspired by real women, this powerful novel tells the story of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I

August 1914. While Europe enters a brutal conflict unlike any waged before, the Duncan household in Baltimore, Maryland, is the setting for a different struggle. Ruth and Elise Duncan long to escape the roles that society, and their controlling father, demand they play. Together, the sisters volunteer for the war effort–Ruth as a nurse, Elise as a driver.

Stationed at a makeshift hospital in Ypres, Belgium, Ruth soon confronts war’s harshest lesson: not everyone can be saved. Rising above the appalling conditions, she seizes an opportunity to realize her dream to practice medicine as a doctor. Elise, an accomplished mechanic, finds purpose and an unexpected kinship within the all-female Ambulance Corps. Through bombings, heartache and loss, Ruth and Elise cherish an independence rarely granted to women, unaware that their greatest challenges are still to come.

Illuminating the critical role women played in the Great War, this is a remarkable story of resilience, sacrifice and the bonds that can never be vanquished.


Review:

Immersive, evocative, and affecting!

Sisters of the Great War is an alluring tale set in German-Occupied Belgium and France during WWI that follows two American sisters, Ruth, a nurse who yearns to be a surgeon, and Elise, a mechanic with unprecedented skills with an engine, as they head to the front lines to help transport, heal, and save as many lives as possible in a landscape littered with blood, tears, ashes, ruins, and lost men.

The prose is vivid and smooth. The characters are dependable, courageous, and resilient. And the plot is a moving tale of life, loss, self-discovery, heartbreak, determination, hope, loyalty, tragedy, survival, friendship, love, and wartime medicine.

Overall, Sisters of the Great War is an emotive, rich, absorbing tale by Feldman that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, lives, and personalities of the characters you can’t help but be enthralled and fully invested from start to finish.

 

This novel is available on October 26, 2021.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Suzanne Feldman for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Suzanne Feldman

Suzanne Feldman, a recipient of the Missouri Review Editors' Prize and a finalist for the Bakeless Prize in fiction, holds an MA in fiction from Johns Hopkins University and a BFA in art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her short fiction has appeared in Narrative, The Missouri Review, Gargoyle, and other literary journals. She lives in Frederick, Maryland.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond @smpromance @StMartinsPress #NotYourAverageHotGuy #GwendaBond #smpromance #smpinfluencers

#BookReview Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond @smpromance @StMartinsPress #NotYourAverageHotGuy #GwendaBond #smpromance #smpinfluencers Title: Not Your Average Hot Guy

Author: Gwenda Bond

Series: Not Your Average Hot Guy #1

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Oct. 5, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 320

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 7/10

A paranormal romantic comedy at the (possible) end of the world.

All Callie wanted was a quiet weekend with her best friend. She promised her mom she could handle running her family’s escape room business while her mom is out of town. Instead a Satanic cult shows up, claiming that the prop spell book in one of the rooms is the real deal, and they need it to summon the right hand of the devil. Naturally they take Callie and her friend, Mag, along with them. But when the summoning reveals a handsome demon in a leather jacket named Luke who offers to help Callie stop the cult from destroying the world, her night goes from weird to completely strange.

As the group tries to stay one step ahead of the cult, Callie finds herself drawn to the annoying (and annoyingly handsome) Luke. But what Callie doesn’t know is that Luke is none other than Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell and son of the Devil himself. Callie never had time for love, and with the apocalypse coming closer, is there room for romance when all hell’s about to break loose?

From New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond, Not Your Average Hot Guy is a hilarious romantic comedy about two people falling in love, while the fate of the world rests on their shoulders.


Review:

Unique, comical, and cute!

Not Your Average Hot Guy is a sweet, funny, action-packed romance that takes you into the life of Callie, a kindhearted bookworm who finds herself inadvertently attracted to and in need of help from the sexy Luke Morningstar, the prince of Hell himself, when a satanic cult, led by the devious Solomon Elerion, visits her family’s escape room business to steal a book of spells that can help them summon a powerful demon, potentially acquire the Holy Lance, and ultimately trigger the apocalypse they’ve always been hoping for.

The writing is playful and light. The characters are feisty, impulsive, and amusing. And the plot is an adventure-filled tale of temptation, mystique, chemistry, attraction, witty banter, humorous mishaps, supernatural characters, and of course, a little fire and brimstone.

Overall, Not Your Average Hot Guy is a charming, humorous, quirky tale by Bond, and even though I felt it might be a little more suitable for a YA or New Adult audience rather than the adult readers it’s geared towards, it is still nevertheless an easy, entertaining read.

 

This novel is available now.

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

        

 

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

 

About Gwenda Bond

Gwenda Bond is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the Lois Lane and Cirque American trilogies. She wrote the first official Stranger Things novel, Suspicious Minds. She also created Dead Air, a serialized mystery and scripted podcast written with Carrie Ryan and Rachel Caine. Not Your Average Hot Guy is her first romantic comedy for adults.

Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, Salon, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. She believes she may have escaped from a 1940s screwball comedy. She writes a monthlyish letter you can sign up for at her website, and you can also follow her on Twitter.

#BookReview A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry @ambroseparry @canongatebooks @PGCBooks #ACorruptionofBlood #RavenFisherSimpsonSeries #AmbroseParry

#BookReview A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry @ambroseparry @canongatebooks @PGCBooks #ACorruptionofBlood #RavenFisherSimpsonSeries #AmbroseParry Title: A Corruption of Blood

Author: Ambrose Parry

Series: Raven Fisher and Simpson #3

Published by: Canongate Books Ltd on Oct. 19, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

Edinburgh. This city will bleed you dry.

Dr Will Raven is a man seldom shocked by human remains, but even he is disturbed by the contents of a package washed up at the Port of Leith. Stranger still, a man Raven has long detested is pleading for his help to escape the hangman.

Back in the townhouse of Dr James Simpson, Sarah Fisher has set her sights on learning to practise medicine. Almost everyone seems intent on dissuading her from this ambition, but when word reaches her that a woman has recently obtained a medical degree despite her gender, Sarah decides to seek her out.

Raven’s efforts to prove his former adversary’s innocence are failing and he desperately needs Sarah’s help. Putting their feelings for one another aside, their investigations take them to both extremes of Edinburgh’s social divide, where they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.


Review:

Menacing, gripping, and addictive!

A Corruption of Blood is a vivid, unsettling tale that takes us back to Edinburgh and into the lives of Dr Will Raven and Sarah Fisher as they find themselves wrapped up in not only the suspicious death of one of the wealthiest men in the Scottish Lowlands, Sir Ainsley Douglas but also the case of a murdered infant that may, in fact, only be the start of a bigger more heinous murder spree than anyone could have imagined.

The prose is descriptive and tense. The characters are intelligent, curious, and committed. And the plot is a compelling tale of life, loss, secrets, friendship, courtship, abuse, revenge, manipulation, deception, greed, violence, early medicine, and murder.

Overall, A Corruption of Blood is another atmospheric, gritty, intricate novel by Parry that is a fantastic addition to the Raven, Fisher, Simpson series, and I can’t wait to read whatever this dynamic writing duo manages to come 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 PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ambrose Parry

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years' experience, whose research for her Master's degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this series, which begun with The Way of All Flesh, is based. The Way of all Flesh was longlisted for both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year.

#BookReview The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews @StMartinsPress #TheSantaSuit #MaryKayAndrews #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews @StMartinsPress #TheSantaSuit #MaryKayAndrews #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: The Santa Suit

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Sep. 28, 2021

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 224

Format: ARC, eBook

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8/10

From Mary Kay Andrews, the New York Times bestselling author of Hello, Summer, comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances in The Santa Suit.

When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.

At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?

Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.


Review:

Lighthearted, sweet, and cosy!

The Santa Suit is a delightfully charming, uplifting tale that takes us into the life of Ivy Perkins as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, from a recent divorce, the end of her career, a handsome realtor, a new farmhouse that needs a little more TLC than she ever expected, and the mystery of a little girl’s heartfelt Christmas wish found saved in the pocket of a well-loved Santa suit.

The writing is sincere and smooth. The characters are engaging, supportive, and genuine. And the plot is a touching, somewhat nostalgic tale about life, love, family, friendship, community, taking chances, starting over, finding happiness, and the magic of the holidays.

Overall, The Santa Suit is a heartwarming, engaging, festive read by Andrews that reminds us to surround ourselves with those we love, stay open-minded, and always be excited for whatever comes next.

 

This book is available now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

#BookReview Three Sisters by Heather Morris @StMartinsPress #ThreeSisters #HeatherMorrisAuthor #TheTattooistofAuschwitz #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview Three Sisters by Heather Morris @StMartinsPress #ThreeSisters #HeatherMorrisAuthor #TheTattooistofAuschwitz #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencers Title: Three Sisters

Author: Heather Morris

Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz #3

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Oct. 5, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 9/10

From Heather Morris, the New York Times bestselling author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey: a story of family, courage, and resilience, inspired by a true story.

Against all odds, three Slovakian sisters have survived years of imprisonment in the most notorious death camp in Nazi Germany: Auschwitz. Livia, Magda, and Cibi have clung together, nearly died from starvation and overwork, and the brutal whims of the guards in this place of horror. But now, the allies are closing in and the sisters have one last hurdle to face: the death march from Auschwitz, as the Nazis try to erase any evidence of the prisoners held there. Due to a last minute stroke of luck, the three of them are able to escape formation and hide in the woods for days before being rescued.

And this is where the story begins. From there, the three sisters travel to Israel, to their new home, but the battle for freedom takes on new forms. Livia, Magda, and Cibi must face the ghosts of their past–and some secrets that they have kept from each other–to find true peace and happiness.

Inspired by a true story, and with events that overlap with those of Lale, Gita, and Cilka, The Three Sisters will hold a place in readers’ hearts and minds as they experience what true courage really is.


Review:

Pensive, heartwrenching, and exceptionally absorbing!

Three Sisters is an evocative, beautifully written, touching tale predominantly set during WWII that takes you into the lives of the Meller sisters, three young Jewish women from Slovakia who, through remarkable perseverance and a long-held promise, manage to bind together to survive hell on earth, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and somehow still manage to go on to marry, have children, and live out the rest of their days in Tel Aviv surrounded by love.

The prose is haunting and insightful. The characters are vulnerable, strong, and brave. And the plot is a poignant tale of life, loss, love, survival, family, sacrifice, courage, selflessness, the unimaginable horrors of war, and the special bond between sisters.

Overall, Three Sisters is another thought-provoking, immersive, moving tale by Morris that does a remarkable job of reminding us of an atrocity that should never be forgotten, and the incredible ability for humanity to love and still be kind, compassionate, and resilient even in the face of unimaginable evil.

This novel is available now.

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

              

 

 

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

 

About Heather Morris

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Photo by Tina Smigielski.

#BookReview These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant @kimicgrant @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #KimiCunninghamGrant #TheseSilentWoods #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers

#BookReview These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant @kimicgrant @MinotaurBooks @StMartinsPress #KimiCunninghamGrant #TheseSilentWoods #MinotaurInfluencers #SMPInfluencers Title: These Silent Woods

Author: Kimi Cunningham Grant

Published by: Minotaur Books on Aug. 10, 2021

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Minotaur Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Private Investigator Sharon McCone goes undercover to investigate the murders of two Indigenous women in remote Northern California in this gripping, atmospheric mystery in the New York Times bestselling series.  

When the bodies of two Indigenous women are found in the wilderness of northern California, it is only the latest horrific development in a string of similar crimes in the area. Despite all evidence to the contrary, officials rule the deaths isolated incidents, which soon join the ranks of countless other unsolved cases quickly dismissed by law enforcement.
 
In a town where too many injustices are tolerated or brushed under the rug, only a few people remain who refuse to let a killer walk free. But Private Investigator Sharon McCone is one of those few. She is hired by an organization called Crimes against Indigenous Sisters to go undercover in Meruk County—a community rife with secrets, lies, and corruption—to expose the truth.
 
In an isolated cabin in the freezing, treacherous woods, McCone must work quickly to unravel a mystery that is rooted in profound evil—before she becomes the killer’s next target.


Review:

Subtle, forbidding, and incredibly atmospheric!

These Silent Woods is a heart-tugging, engrossing, suspenseful thriller that takes you into the life of Cooper, a former, scarred Army Ranger who, after losing his fiancee in a tragic accident, flees with his baby daughter Finch to the Appalachian wilderness where they live a content but solitary existence, until one day a young hiker wanders across their path, violence strikes and everything he has tried to protect and keep hidden for the past eight years finally must come to light.

The prose is vivid and rich. The characters are complex, flawed, and vulnerable. And the plot is a sobering tale of tragedy, heartbreak, guilt, redemption, survival, hope, PTSD, and the all-encompassing, unconditional love a parent has for their child.

Overall, These Silent Woods is a tight, engrossing, reflective thriller by Grant that was, honestly, not at all what I was expecting and yet so much more than I ever could have imagined, and I highly recommend it.

This novel is available on October 26, 2021.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press – Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kimi Cunningham Grant

Kimi Cunningham Grant is the author of Fallen Mountains, Silver Like Dust, and These Silent Woods. Kimi is a two-time winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Poetry and a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in creative nonfiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in Fathom, Literary Mama, RATTLE, Poet Lore, and Whitefish Review. She lives, writes, and teaches in Pennsylvania.

Photo by Ann Bickel.

#BookReview The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas @overlookpress @ABRAMSbooks #TheMadWomensBall #VictoriaMas

#BookReview The Mad Women’s Ball by Victoria Mas @overlookpress @ABRAMSbooks #TheMadWomensBall #VictoriaMas Title: The Mad Women's Ball

Author: Victoria Mas

Published by: Overlook Press on Sep. 7, 2021

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 224

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Overlook Press

Book Rating: 8/10

A literary historical novel detailing the horrors faced by institutionalized women in 19th century Paris—soon to be a major film with Amazon Studios

The Salpetriere Asylum: Paris, 1885. Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism on women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. But the truth is much more complicated—these women are often simply inconvenient, unwanted wives, those who have lost something precious, wayward daughters, or girls born from adulterous relationships. For Parisian society, the highlight of the year is the Lenten ball—the Madwomen’s Ball—when the great and good come to gawk at the patients of the Salpetriere dressed up in their finery for one night only. For the women themselves, it is a rare moment of hope.

Genevieve is a senior nurse. After the childhood death of her sister Blandine, she shunned religion and placed her faith in both the celebrated psychiatrist Dr. Charcot and science. But everything begins to change when she meets Eugenie—the 19-year-old daughter of a bourgeois family that has locked her away in the asylum. Because Eugenie has a secret: she sees spirits. Inspired by the scandalous, banned work that all of Paris is talking about, The Book of Spirits, Eugenie is determined to escape from the asylum—and the bonds of her gender—and seek out those who will believe in her. And for that she will need Genevieve’s help . . .


Review:

Gothic, eerie, and dark!

The Mad Women’s Ball is a riveting, gritty tale set in Paris in the mid-1880s at a time when the city was bustling, respectability meant everything, the esteemed Dr. Charcot was becoming infamous for his use of hypnotherapy in the treatment of hysteria in the young women and girls who were sent to The Salpêtrière Asylum by their male relatives, and the annual Mad Women’s Ball was a spectacle no member of the bourgeoisie wanted to miss.

There are three main memorable characters in this novel; Eugénie, a young woman whose prosperous family has her committed after she professes to be able to communicate with the dead; Louise, an inmate with dreams of being the next famous patient and the wife of an educated, junior doctor; and Geneviève, a hardworking nurse whose loyalty to the hospital beings to wane after events make her question the integrity of the people and practices employed there.

The prose is rich and ominous. The supporting characters are vulnerable, flawed, and tormented. And the plot is an insightful, menacing tale of life, loss, perseverance, survival, betrayal, abuse, patient exploitation, spiritualism, mental illness, and the roles of women in 19th century France.

Overall, The Mad Women’s Ball is a quick, intense, poignant read by Mas that does a beautiful job of interweaving historical facts and compelling fiction into a sinister, suspenseful tale that is exceptionally atmospheric and disturbingly entertaining.

 

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

Thank you to Overlook Press – Abrams Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Victoria Mas

Victoria Mas was born in 1987. The Mad Women's Ball, her first novel, has won several prizes in France (including the Prix Stanislas and Prix Renaudot des Lycéens) and been hailed as the bestselling debut of the season. She has worked in film in the United States, where she lived for eight years. She graduated from the Sorbonne University in Contemporary Literature.

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