Format: Paperback

#BookReview
The Lie by Helen Dunmore

#BookReview The Lie by Helen DunmoreTitle: The Lie

Author: Helen Dunmore

Published by Windmill Books on May 8, 2014

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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


Review:

Extremely compelling, poignant, and hauntingly realistic!

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

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

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

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

 

 

About Helen Dunmore

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

Helen Dunmore (1952 – 2017)

#BookReview
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

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

Author: Rita Leganski

Published by Harper Paperbacks on February 26, 2013

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

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

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


Review:

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

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

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

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

 

#BookReview
The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor
@HazelGaynor

#BookReview The Girl From The Savoy by Hazel Gaynor @HazelGaynorTitle: The Girl from the Savoy

Author: Hazel Gaynor

Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on June 7, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 419

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Presenting a dazzling new historical novel … The Girl From The Savoy is as sparkling as champagne and as thrilling as the era itself.

Sometimes life gives you cotton stockings. Sometimes it gives you a Chanel gown …

Dolly Lane is a dreamer; a downtrodden maid who longs to dance on the London stage, but her life has been fractured by the Great War. Memories of the soldier she loved, of secret shame and profound loss, by turns pull her back and spur her on to make a better life.

When she finds employment as a chambermaid at London’s grandest hotel, The Savoy, Dolly takes a step closer to the glittering lives of the Bright Young Things who thrive on champagne, jazz and rebellion. Right now, she must exist on the fringes of power, wealth and glamor—she must remain invisible and unimportant.

But her fortunes take an unexpected turn when she responds to a struggling songwriter’s advertisement for a ‘muse’ and finds herself thrust into London’s exhilarating theatre scene and into the lives of celebrated actress, Loretta May, and her brother, Perry. Loretta and Perry may have the life Dolly aspires to, but they too are searching for something.

Now, at the precipice of the life she has and the one she longs for, the girl from The Savoy must make difficult choices: between two men; between two classes, between everything she knows and everything she dreams of. A brighter future is tantalizingly close—but can a girl like Dolly ever truly leave her past behind?


Review:

This novel is deeply moving, intriguing, and pensive.

The story is set in London in the early 1920s, and is told from three perspectives. Dolly, an ambitious young woman, who yearns for adventure and dreams of being more than just the help. Loretta, a starlet who seems to have it all, but who hides a heavy heart behind the smile and the charm. And Teddy, a soldier, who left for war full of love and hope, only to return with jumbled thoughts and frayed nerves.

The prose is precise, clear, and exquisitely descriptive. The characters are sympathetic, wounded, and real. And the plot is intricately woven together to flow seamlessly from start to finish.

This truly is an engaging, captivating story about love, loss, war, hardship, grief, resilience and determination that would be a wonderful addition to book clubs everywhere.

 

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

 

#BookReview
Friction by Sandra Brown

#BookReview Friction by Sandra BrownTitle: Friction

Author: Sandra Brown

Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 2, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown comes a gripping story of family ties and forbidden attraction.

A Texas Ranger, relegated to deskwork due to past recklessness, petitions to regain custody of his five-year-old daughter, and his case is assigned to a family court judge who is as attractive as she is ambitious. When a masked gunman barges in during the custody hearing with his sights on the judge, the Ranger reacts instinctually and goes after him. But authorities apprehend the wrong man, and the real gunman remains unknown, at large, and a threat. Will this take-charge lawman jeopardize his chances of custody by going after the would-be assassin? And will this unlikely pair be able to deny the forbidden attraction building between them?


Review:

This is a great mystery. In fact, it is one of my favourite reads in this genre so far this year.

It is a riveting, intense, suspenseful story, with a side of romance, that starts with a murder in a courtroom and takes us through multiple twists and turns to identify who the target really is and why.

The characters are well-developed, bold, and complex. And the story is well written, with multiple plots, great dialogue, and steamy romance.

This is a gripping page turner and I highly recommend it.

 

#BookReview
The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

#BookReview The Moment of Everything by Shelly KingTitle: The Moment of Everything

Author: Shelly King

Published by Grand Central Publishing on September 2, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 270

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.

Maggie Duprès, recently “involuntarily separated from payroll” at a Silicon Valley startup, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.
When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance-even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a book she hasn’t encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley–it’s an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.

Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.


Review:

This was a book club read for me this month, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

To me this story is a journey of finding one’s self, discovering what makes you happy, realizing that sacrifices are not really sacrifices when we make them for love, and friendship. 

The setting is a wonderful juxtaposition, where on the one hand we have a quaint used book store. A store seeped in history and the past, right down to the musty shelves and the crinkled pages. And on the other hand we have Silicon Valley, the epitome of the future, all things new, better, faster and electronic.

The story flows nicely. The prose is subtle but lovely. And the characters are quirky, interesting and engaging.

It is a nice, heart-warming story that was a pleasure to read.

 

#BookReview
Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

#BookReview Best of My Love by Susan MalleryTitle: Best of My Love

Author: Susan Mallery

Series: Fool's Gold #20

Published by HQN Books on April 26, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

An irresistible new love story from the #1 New York Timesbestselling author of the Fool’s Gold series, set in a town Library Journal calls “so appealing, readers will want to start scoping out real estate.”  

To overcome her painful past, baker Shelby Gilmore goes on the hunt for a friend—a male friend—to convince her stubborn psyche that men can be trusted. But where in a town as small as Fool’s Gold will the petite blonde find a guy willing to not date her? 

Dark, charming Aidan Mitchell puts the “adventure” in Mitchell Adventure Tours…and into the beds of his many willing female tourists. Until he realizes he’s inadvertently become that guy—the one-night Casanova—and worse, everyone in town knows it. Maybe Shelby’s boy/girl experiment will help him see women as more than just conquests so he can change his ways and win back his self-respect. 

As Aidan and Shelby explore the secret lives of men and women, the heat between them fires up the Fool’s Gold rumor mill. If no one will believe they’re just friends, maybe they should give the gossips something to really talk about!


Review:

It’s hard to believe this is book #20 in the Fool’s Gold series, but once again Susan Mallery has written a nice, warm contemporary romance story.

The writing is smooth and flows easily. The characters are sweet, funny and interesting. And the plot is full of humour, drama, and romance. 

This is a cute, entertaining novel that is perfect for a light-hearted summer read.

 

 

About Susan Mallery

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur.

Photo by Annie Brady

#BookReview
The Stranger by Harlan Coben

#BookReview The Stranger by Harlan CobenTitle: The Stranger

Author: Harlan Coben

Published by Dutton on February 9, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 464

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.


Review:

I enjoyed this book.

It is intense, suspenseful, and full of action.

It takes us on a journey through the depth and despair that comes from secrets, and reminds us that everything is not always as it seems.

This book is interesting, unique and well written. The characters are realistic and colourful. And the plot develops nicely, has multiple twists and turns, and is highly captivating.

Harlan Coben is a great mystery writer. And once again he has written a good one!

 

#BookReview
Unexpected Rush by Jaci Burton

#BookReview Unexpected Rush by Jaci BurtonTitle: Unexpected Rush

Author: Jaci Burton

Series: Play by Play #11

Published by Berkley on February 16, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 330

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

 

Synopsis:

In the new Play-By-Play novel by the New York Timesbestselling author of All Wound Up, a football hot shot and his best friend’s sister are breaking all the rules.

All the Right Moves

For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.

Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in social work. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.

When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over…


Review:

This is a fun, steamy, contemporary romance story.

There are hot football players, sexy romance scenes, and a good, although predictable, plot.

All-in-all this is an easy, quick read that would be great for summer.

 

 

About Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of over 70 books. She lives in Oklahoma and when she isn’t on deadline (which is often), she can usually be found wrestling with her uncooperative garden, wrangling her dogs, watching an unhealthy amount of television, or completely losing track of time reading a great book. She’s a total romantic and longs for the happily ever after in every story, which you’ll find in all her books.

#BookReview
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
@WmKentKrueger

#BookReview Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger @WmKentKruegerTitle: Ordinary Grace

Author: William Kent Krueger

Published by Atria Books on March 4, 2014

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 307

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.


Review:

This is a really great story about the challenges we face in life and the ways in which we handle them.

It is a coming-of-age story, with a side of mystery, that touches on the power of perspective, the strength of familial relationships, friendship, loss, grief, forgiveness and faith.

It is exquisitely written. The prose is beautiful. The setting is vividly described. And the characters are well-developed and complex.

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

I highly recommend it. It is definitely worth a read.

 

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

 

For more information on William Kent Krueger, visit his website at: williamkentkrueger.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @WmKentKrueger

 

#BookReview
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

#BookReview The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeTitle: The Little Paris Bookshop

Author: Nina George

Published by Broadway Books on March 22, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 6.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people’s lives.


Review:

As a book lover, I was really excited to read this book. I thought it had a great premise and great potential. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t live up to my expectations and I can’t really pinpoint exactly where it went wrong.

The imagery of Paris and the French countryside is vivid, bold, and extremely well done. The characters evolve, develop, and grow throughout the story. And the plot is unique and thoughtful.

It is, ultimately, a story about loneliness and longing, the ability to love and to be loved, and what it means to truly live.

However, saying all that, it just never seemed to capture my attention. It didn’t flow well and I found myself putting it down numerous times before pushing myself to pick it back up to finish it. 

This is probably one of those stories that some people will love, but I would have to say with all the other great stories out there I would give this one a miss.

 

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