Format: Hardcover

#BookReview
Property of a Noblewoman by Danielle Steel

#BookReview Property of a Noblewoman by Danielle SteelTitle: Property of a Noblewoman

Author: Danielle Steel

Published by: Delacorte Press on March 15, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In Danielle Steel’s thrilling new novel, a woman’s legacy—shaped by tragedy, fortitude, and undying devotion—transforms lives and hearts long after she is gone, and fulfills at last her most precious bequest.

Faded photographs of a glamorous couple in postwar Europe. Old letters hinting of tragic loss. And a breathtaking array of magnificent jewelry, spectacular stones in exquisite settings. These are the contents of a safe-deposit box long abandoned in a New York City bank. If no heir can be identified, the jewelry will be auctioned. But who was the woman who left such a fortune and no will?

Two people, drawn together by chance, begin to unravel the mystery. Jane Willoughby is a law clerk at the surrogate’s court and Phillip Lawton a fine arts expert for Christie’s auction house. They are simply doing their jobs when they come to the bank to inspect the contents of the box. But for both Jane and Phillip the search turns personal—and their efforts to reconstruct an enigmatic life will lead from New York to London and Paris, to Rome and Naples, and a series of stunning revelations.
 
Eighteen-year-old Marguerite Pearson left America with a broken heart in the shadow of World War II. She found a new life in Europe but forever mourned what she left behind. As the truth about Marguerite’s extraordinary history—her forbidden love affair and her family’s treachery—is slowly revealed, more people are drawn into the puzzle that Jane and Phillip have pieced together, and one among them will inherit the most unexpected gift of all.


Review:

Danielle Steel is an icon in the contemporary romance genre. And although this wasn’t my favourite, it was a good read.

This is, ultimately, a story about discovery.  The discovery of not only priceless jewels, but also family secrets, loss, fulfillment and love.

It is an easy, light read. The background into the art and jewelry world of New York and Italy is interesting. And the writing is simple, though a little repetitive.  

This is a sweet, clean romance that a wide range of audience can enjoy.

 

#BookReview
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

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

Author: Anna Quindlen

Published by: Random House on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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


Review:

This is a very interesting and intriguing story.

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

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

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

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

 

#BookReview
The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan

#BookReview The Decent Proposal by Kemper DonovanTitle: The Decent Proposal

Author: Kemper Donovan

Published by: HarperCollins on April 5, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 308

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

An addictively readable debut romantic comedy, drama, and mystery rolled into one, about two very different strangers whose lives become intertwined when they receive an unusual proposition. This is a funny, tender, and enchanting story about love, attraction, and friendship: Jane Austen in Los Angeles.

A struggling Hollywood producer, Richard Baumbach is twenty-nine, hung-over, and broke. Ridiculously handsome with an innate charm and an air of invincibility, he still believes good things will come his way. For now he contents himself with days at the Coffee Bean and nights with his best friend Mike (that’s a woman, by the way).

At thirty-three, Elizabeth Santiago is on track to make partner at her law firm. Known as “La Máquina” The Machine—to her colleagues, she’s grown used to avoiding anything that might derail her quiet, orderly life. And yet recently she befriended a homeless man in her Venice neighborhood, surprised to find how much she enjoys their early-morning chats.

Richard and Elizabeth’s paths collide when they receive a proposal from a mysterious, anonymous benefactor. They’ll split a million dollars if they agree to spend at least two hours together—just talking—every week for a year. Astonished and more than a little suspicious, they each nevertheless say yes. Richard needs the money and likes the adventure of it. Elizabeth embraces the challenge of shaking up her life a little more. Both agree the idea is ridiculous, but why not?

What ensues is a delightful journey full of twists, revelations, hamburgers, classic literature, poppy music, and above all love, in its multitude of forms. The Decent Proposal is a heartfelt and often hilarious look at the ties that bind not just a guy and a girl but an entire, diverse cast of characters situated within a modern-day Los Angeles brought to full and irrepressible life.


Review:

This was a hard book for me to review.

It is definitely an enjoyable, engaging novel, with all the elements you typically look for in contemporary romance, but for some reason I just didn’t feel completely satisfied at the end of the story.

The writing is well done. The characters are complex. The plot is unique and intriguing. And I especially enjoyed the references to classic movies, books and pop music.

Unfortunately, however, although I liked the idea and found it to be an interesting read, I just didn’t love it.

 

#BookReview
The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward
@JRWard1

#BookReview The Bourbon Kings by J. R. Ward @JRWard1Title: The Bourbon Kings

Author: J.R. Ward

Series: The Bourbon Kings #1

Published by: NAL on July 28, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal…. 

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.


Review:

I really enjoyed this story.

This novel takes you into the lives of, the multi-generational bourbon maker family, the Bradford’s. They are southern. They are rich. And they have everything you would expect, debutante wives, fast cars, and beautiful houses. But like most families with money, power, and privilege everything is not as it always seems, and hidden away behind closed doors you find adultery, abuse, lies, secrets, and murder.

This story is very engaging and captivating. The characters are complex, flawed, and self-destructive. And the plot is well written, interesting and suspenseful.

This can be read as a standalone novel, but I guarantee by the end you will be looking forward to reading what comes next in the Bourbon Kings Book #2, The Angels’ Share, due to be published July 26, 2016.

 

This novel is available now.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

#BookReview
The Last Mile by David Baldacci
@davidbaldacci

#BookReview The Last Mile by David Baldacci @davidbaldacciTitle: The Last Mile

Author: David Baldacci

Series: Amos Decker #2

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on April 19, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 420

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

In his #1 New York Times bestseller Memory Man, David Baldacci introduced the extraordinary detective Amos Decker-the man who can forget nothing. Now, Decker returns in a spectacular new thriller . . . 
THE LAST MILE
Convicted murderer Melvin Mars is counting down the last hours before his execution–for the violent killing of his parents twenty years earlier–when he’s granted an unexpected reprieve. Another man has confessed to the crime.
Amos Decker, newly hired on an FBI special task force, takes an interest in Mars’s case after discovering the striking similarities to his own life: Both men were talented football players with promising careers cut short by tragedy. Both men’s families were brutally murdered. And in both cases, another suspect came forward, years after the killing, to confess to the crime. A suspect who may or may not have been telling the truth.
The confession has the potential to make Melvin Mars–guilty or not–a free man. Who wants Mars out of prison? And why now?
But when a member of Decker’s team disappears, it becomes clear that something much larger–and more sinister–than just one convicted criminal’s life hangs in the balance. Decker will need all of his extraordinary brainpower to stop an innocent man from being executed. 


Review:

This is another great mystery from David Baldacci. It is the second book in the Amos Decker series, but can definitely be read as a standalone.

In this novel our favourite characters, Decker, Jamison and Bogart, from Memory Man are back and working together as a special team in the FBI that try to solve cold cases.

This story is well written, interesting, suspenseful, and intelligent. It has everything you look for in a good mystery, murder, kidnapping, blackmail, and deceit.

It is a captivating page turner that you won’t want to put down. I highly recommend it.

 

This novel 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 David Baldacci, visit his website at: davidbaldacci.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @davidbaldacci

 

#BookReview
Circling The Sun by Paula McLain

#BookReview Circling The Sun by Paula McLainTitle: Circling the Sun

Author: Paula McLain

Published by: Ballantine Books on July 28, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 366

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.


Review:

This was one of my book club reads for this month and I enjoyed it.

This is a story based on the real life of Beryl Markham.

Beryl was a strong, independent, remarkable women who was definitely ahead of her time. She accomplished some incredible things and had an indomitable spirit. At the same time, however, there always seemed be an aura of sadness surrounding her. She was constantly searching for true freedom and happiness, which she could never find. Her struggles with abandonment, loneliness, heartache and disappointment seemed to overshadow all the rest.

I have to admit that I knew very little of Beryl Markham before reading this book and I found it interesting and captivating right from the prologue.

The writing, itself, is poetic and flows from page-to-page effortlessly. And the imagery of colonial Kenya is beautiful and vivid.

This was a good choice for book club and I look forward to discussing it.

 

#BookReview
The Marriage Pact by M. J. Pullen

#BookReview The Marriage Pact by M. J. PullenTitle: The Marriage Pact

Author: M.J. Pullen

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books on November 3, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A cozy suburban home, charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side. 

Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.

Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.


Review:

This is a nice contemporary romance story.

The story revolves around a promise made between two friends that they will marry each other if they are not married by the time they are 30. It is written in a present-past style that gives you background into the friends-to-more relationship.

The characters are likeable and the story has enough drama, heartache, romance and humour to keep the story flowing nicely.

It is a sweet, easy read. Perfect for when you’re looking for something light and fluffy.

 

#BookReview
Darkness by Karen Robards

#BookReview Darkness by Karen RobardsTitle: Darkness

Author: Karen Robards

Published by: Gallery Books on March 29, 2016

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 377

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle MoranTitle: Rebel Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Published by: Touchstone on March 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 355

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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
Private Paris by James Patterson & Mark Sullivan

#BookReview Private Paris by James Patterson & Mark SullivanTitle: Private Paris

Author: James Patterson, Mark T. Sullivan

Series: Private #10

Published by: Little Brown and Company on March 14, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 411

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Paris is burning–and only Private’s Jack Morgan can put out the fire.

When Jack Morgan stops by Private’s Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

Before Jack can locate her, several members of France’s cultural elite are found dead–murdered in stunning, symbolic fashion. The only link between the crimes is a mysterious graffiti tag. As religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Lights, only Jack and his Private team can connect the dots before the smoldering powder keg explodes.


Review:

I liked this book and generally enjoy the “Private” series.

It had a good plot and interesting characters.

It was quick-paced, had short chapters, and was easy to read.

I would recommend it and look forward to the next book in the series.

 

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