Source: Publishers Group Canada

#BookReview Burial of Ghosts by Ann Cleeves @AnnCleeves @PGCBooks #BurialofGhosts #AnnCleeves #PGCBooks

#BookReview Burial of Ghosts by Ann Cleeves @AnnCleeves @PGCBooks #BurialofGhosts #AnnCleeves #PGCBooks Title: Burial of Ghosts

Author: Ann Cleeves

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Jan. 24, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 339

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A classic psychological thriller, available for the first time in Canada, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Shetland, Vera Stanhope, and Two Rivers series, Ann Cleeves.

Abandoned as a baby, twenty-five-year-old Lizzie Bartholomew spent her childhood moving between foster homes and has had more than her fair share of troubles.

Now a holiday in Morocco seems to be the perfect escape. Especially when she meets Philip, a fellow tourist. After a brief affair, Lizzie returns to England, only to find a solicitor’s letter waiting for her.

Philip Samson has died and in his will, has left Lizzie a gift of £15,000. But there are conditions attached to this unexpected legacy that will soon force Lizzie to confront terrifying secrets from her past life.

Burial of Ghosts is a page-turning, edge of your seat thriller from superstar crime writer Ann Cleeves, author and creator of three astounding TV series: Shetland, Vera, and The Long Call.


Review:

Simmering, tight, and mysterious!

Burial of Ghosts is a tense, twisty tale that introduces us to Lizzie Bartholomew, a young social worker who, after experiencing a tragic incident at work, takes a leave of absence to Morocco, where she indulges in some rest, relaxation and a one-night stand with an older man she believes she will never see or hear from again only to return from vacation to find a letter from his solicitor informing her that Philip has died and has left her a sizeable inheritance linked to a stipulated request that will ultimately turn her life upside down, make her a possible suspect in a grizzly murder, and will cause her own secrets from the past to rear their ugly heads.

The writing is sharp and brisk. The characters are flawed, unreliable, and troubled. And the plot using flashbacks and a back-and-forth style intertwines and unravels into an ominous tale of twists, turns, lies, deception, corruption, suspicions, revelations, mayhem, familial drama, and murder.

Overall, Burial of Ghosts is an atmospheric, sinister, satisfying tale by Cleeves that does a wonderful job of highlighting that she’s not only the queen of police procedural series, but also a pretty good standalone psychological thriller writer as well.

 

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 gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves is the author behind PBS’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on screen and in print. Her books have now sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before becoming a crime writer. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland series, and in 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame. Ann lives in North Tyneside, England.

#BookReview Better the Blood by Michael Bennett @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #BettertheBlood #MichaelBennett #PGCBooks

#BookReview Better the Blood by Michael Bennett @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #BettertheBlood #MichaelBennett #PGCBooks Title: Better the Blood

Author: Michael Bennett

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Jan. 10, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

An absorbing, clever debut thriller that speaks to the longstanding injustices faced by New Zealand’s indigenous peoples, by an acclaimed Māori screenwriter and director

A tenacious Māori detective, Hana Westerman juggles single motherhood, endemic prejudice, and the pressures of her career in Auckland CIB. Led to a crime scene by a mysterious video, she discovers a man ritualistically hanging in a secret room and a puzzling inward-curving inscription. Delving into the investigation after a second, apparently unrelated, death, she uncovers a chilling connection to an historic crime: 160 years before, during the brutal and bloody British colonization of New Zealand, a troop of colonial soldiers unjustly executed a Māori Chief.

Hana realizes that the murders are utu—the Māori tradition of rebalancing for the crime committed eight generations ago. There were six soldiers in the British troop, and since descendants of two of the soldiers have been killed, four more potential murders remain. Hana is thus hunting New Zealand’s first serial killer.

The pursuit soon becomes frighteningly personal, recalling the painful event, two decades before, when Hana, then a new cop, was part of a police team sent to end by force a land rights occupation by indigenous peoples on the same ancestral mountain where the Chief was killed, calling once more into question her loyalty to her roots. Worse still, a genealogical link to the British soldiers brings the case terrifyingly close to Hana’s own family. Twisty and thought-provoking, Better the Blood is the debut of a remarkable new talent in crime fiction.


Review:

Meticulous, sharp, and engaging!

Better the Blood is a sinister, gripping tale featuring the relentless Auckland CIB detective Hana Westerman and her partner DC Stanley Riordan as they hunt down a cold, calculating, indigenous serial killer driven to exact revenge on six colonial soldiers who were immortalized in a photo from 160 years ago murdering a Māori Chief by making their ancestors pay for their sins.

The writing is crisp and tight. The characters are flawed, tormented, and hardworking. And the plot is a tightly-paced, ominous tale full of twists, turns, surprises, manipulation, guilt, injustice, violence, and murder.

Overall, Better the Blood is an intricately woven, informative, highly entertaining mystery by Bennett with a nice amount of suspense, good character development, great pace, and an insightful look into the history, culture, oppression, and struggles of the Māori people in New Zealand.

 

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 gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett (Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Whakaue)is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and author whose films have been selections at major festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and New York. His nonfiction book, In Dark Places, which explored an infamous miscarriage of justice, won awards, and his young adult graphic novel, Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas, was a finalist for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Flock by Kate Stewart @authorklstewart @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #Flock #TheRavenhoodSeries #KateStewart #PGCBooks

#BookReview Flock by Kate Stewart @authorklstewart @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #Flock #TheRavenhoodSeries #KateStewart #PGCBooks Title: Flock

Author: Kate Stewart

Series: The Ravenhood #1

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Dec. 12, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica, New Adult

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

In your heart of hearts, if you didn’t have to choose, would you?

The deal is simple: all nineteen-year-old student Cecilia Horner has to do is survive a year in the small town of Triple Falls, living with her estranged father and working at his factory. In return, he’ll not only pay her college tuition, but will hand over a small fortune that will enable Cecilia to help her single mother.

But everything changes when she meets sexy local Sean on her first day of work. He introduces her to his close-knit circle of friends – including the enigmatic Dominic – a group who live by their own rules and brandish the same raven tattoo.

Cecilia has always played it safe but, blinded by her growing feelings for Sean and Dominic, she’s determined to enjoy her last summer of freedom and be open to new experiences no matter where they might lead.


Review:

Dark, sensual, and gritty!

Flock is a spicy, seductive romance that takes you on a journey into the life of Cecilia Horner, a nineteen-year-old woman who, after having to relocate to the small town of Triple Falls to live with her father and work at the factory he owns, inadvertently finds herself swept off her feet by the ruggedly handsome, Sean who is not only her newly appointed supervisor at work but a member of a group of locals who sport the same raven tattoo and whose leader, Dominic is sinfully delicious and more than happy to share.

The writing is titillating and smooth. The characters are intense, consumed, and impulsive. And the plot is a fast-paced, salacious tale full of danger, desire, temptation, mystique, chemistry, deception, secrets, and sizzling romance.

Overall, Flock is a tension-filled, dramatic, erotic thrill ride that has just the right amount of mystery, sex, bad-boy vibes, and complex characters to keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s the perfect start to The Ravenhood series by Stewart, and I can’t wait to read what happens to this group of misfits next in Exodus, releasing later this spring.

 

This book is available now.

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

 

About Kate Stewart

Bestselling author and Texas native, Kate Stewart, lives in North Carolina with her husband, Nick. Kate is a lover of all things '80s and '90s, especially John Hughes films and rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.
Her series, The Ravenhood Trilogy, consisting of Flock, Exodus, and The Finish Line, has become an international bestseller, TikTok phenomenon, and reader favourite.

#BookReview The Party House by Lin Anderson @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #ThePartyHouse #LinAnderson #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Party House by Lin Anderson @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #ThePartyHouse #LinAnderson #PGCBooks Title: The Party House

Author: Lin Anderson

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Jan. 10, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

The Party House by Lin Anderson is a deeply atmospheric psychological thriller set in the Scottish Highlands, for fans of Lucy Foley, Ruth Ware and Sarah Pearse’s The Sanatorium.

Devastated by a recent pandemic brought in by outsiders, the villagers of Blackrig in the Scottish Highlands are outraged when they find that the nearby estate plans to reopen its luxury ‘party house’ to tourists.

As animosity sparks amongst the locals, part of the property is damaged and, in the ensuing chaos, the body of a young girl is found in the wreck. Seventeen-year-old Ailsa Cummings went missing five years ago, never to be seen again – until now.

The excavation of Ailsa’s remains ignites old suspicions cast on the men of this small community, including Greg, the estate’s gamekeeper. At the beginning of a burgeoning relationship with a new lover, Joanne, Greg is loath to discuss old wounds. Frightened by Greg’s reaction to the missing girl’s discovery, Joanne begins to doubt how well she knows this new man in her life. Then again, he’s not the only one with secrets in their volatile relationship . . .


Review:

Dark, suspenseful, and unnerving!

The Party House is an engrossing, ominous tale that transports you to Scotland post-pandemic and into the lives of the Blackrig villagers, especially estate gamekeeper Greg, as they juggle with their feelings for the reopening of the posh, local estate where parties were always wild, rules were flounted, COVID was transmitted killing six of their own treasured souls, and where it now also seems to be the burial site for the body of a missing teen.

The prose is tight and intense. The characters are wary, secretive, and troubled. And the plot, told from alternating perspectives, unravels quickly into a gripping tale full of twists, turns, shocking revelations, lies, deception, indulgence, depravity, jealousy, violence, and murder.

Overall, The Party House is a sinister, entertaining, intense stand-alone thriller by Anderson that does a wonderful job of combining the isolating atmosphere of The Scottish Highlands with unsavoury characters, poor choices, and eerie motivations.

 

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 Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson is a Scottish author and screenwriter known for her bestselling crime series featuring forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod. Four of her novels have been longlisted for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, with Follow the Dead being a 2018 finalist. Her short film River Child won both a Scottish BAFTA for Best Fiction and the Celtic Film Festival’s Best Drama award and has now been viewed more than one million times on YouTube. Lin is also the co-founder of the international crime writing festival Bloody Scotland, which takes place annually in Stirling.

#BookReview The Choice by Penny Hancock @Pennyhancock @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheChoice #PennyHancock #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Choice by Penny Hancock @Pennyhancock @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheChoice #PennyHancock #PGCBooks Title: The Choice

Author: Penny Hancock

Published by: Mantle Books on Jan. 10, 2023

Genres: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast; a successful career as a relationship therapist; three grown up children; and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But things aren’t always as they seem on the surface, as Renee is all too aware. And when Xavier vanishes after she fails to pick him up from school one day, the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; her daughter Mia can’t forgive her; the local community question her priorities; and her clients abandon her. But as long-held family secrets threaten to tear her world apart once and for all, those same secrets might also hold hope for the future — because it’s not always the secret itself that has the power to destroy; sometimes it’s the act of keeping of it . . .

For fans of Hannah Beckerman and Lucy Diamond, Penny Hancock’s The Choice is a beautiful, haunting novel about family secrets and silences — and the power of love.


Review:

Complex, thought-provoking, and engaging!

The Choice is a multilayered, emotional, domestic drama that delves into all the complexities, dynamics, and dysfunction that exist in the familial relationships of the Gulliver family, including the long-lasting effects of secrets and the art of forgiveness.

The prose is mysterious and smooth. The characters are hesitant, conflicted, and troubled. And the plot is a well-paced, pensive tale about life, loss, love, tragedy, resentment, regret, guilt, grief, familial drama, self-reflection, friendship, and absolution.

Overall, The Choice is a rich, immersive, absorbing tale by Hancock that reminds us that life is complicated and messy, and even the smallest choices we make often have far-reaching consequences.

 

This book is available now.

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

           

 

 

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

 

About Penny Hancock

Penny grew up in South East London and then did an English degree in Newcastle Upon Tyne. For several years she taught English as a foreign language in Italy, Greece and Morocco. She then took a PGCE, got a job as a Primary school teacher in an inner city London school, and moved into her partner Andy’s short-life house in East London, which is now part of the hardcore under the M11 that links their new home in Cambridge with her birth place in Greenwich!

While bringing up their three children, she continued to teach in primary schools, taught English to asylum seekers, and ran adult education classes in writing. She also wrote articles for various papers (The Independent, The Guardian, The Times Ed, The Sunday Express magazine, and Child Education, amongst others) specialising in family and education. Penny has also written readers for English language learners for Cambridge University Press, and a Primary English course for children published by Longmans. It was an Arvon writing course and an MA in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University that encouraged her to complete her first novel.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #HowtoFindYourWayHome #KatyRegan #PGCBooks

#BookReview How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #HowtoFindYourWayHome #KatyRegan #PGCBooks Title: How to Find Your Way Home

Author: Katy Regan

Published by: Mantle Books on Feb. 15, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

What if the person you thought you’d lost forever walked back into your life?

A warm, life-affirming novel about what happens when a sister discovers that the brother she hasn’t seen in more than a decade is homeless, and in reconnecting with him learns the true meaning of belonging, from the author of Little Big Love.

When they were children, Emily and her brother Stephen were inseparable. Running wild through the marshes of Canvey Island, it was Stephen who taught her to look for the incandescent flash of a bird’s wings, who instilled within her a love and respect for nature’s wonders. But one June day, their lives came crashing down around them and fate forced them apart.

Fifteen years later, Emily should be happy. She has a sun-filled garden flat, a lovely boyfriend, and a job that is supposed to let her make a difference. But instead she’s lost, always on the lookout for her brother’s face, and worn down, spending her days working at the local housing offices having to turn away more applicants than she can help.

And then one day, her brother walks through the door.

Stephen has been living in and out of shelters for the last decade and the baggage between them is heavy. But Emily is overjoyed to see her brother again and invites him to come live with her. In an attempt to rebuild their relationship, they embark on a birding adventure together. Amid the soft calls of the marsh birds, they must confront the secrets of all that stands between them–even as they begin to realize that home may just be found within.


Review:

Tense, heart-wrenching, and tragic!

How to Find Your Way Home is a thought-provoking, emotional story that sweeps you away to London and into the life of Emily Nelson, a thirty-one-year-old woman with her own flat, a successful boyfriend, and a secure job at the council offices who, after finally crossing paths with her beloved brother who she hasn’t seen for almost twenty years after he was sent to prison and spent the subsequent years after his release living on the streets, finds her life irrevocably turned upside down when she must confront the tragedy, secrets, deception, and lies of the past and forge new relationships based on honesty, patience, understanding, and a mutual love of birds.

The writing is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and troubled. And the plot is a poignant tale of life, loss, secrets, resilience, childhood trauma, shocking revelations, familial drama, self-reflection, poverty, and homelessness.

Overall, How to Find Your Way Home is a beautiful tale by Regan full of heart, hope, and healing that is definitely the perfect choice for anyone who loves a well-written, meaty family saga.

 

This book is available on now.

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

            

 

 

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

 

About Katy Regan

Katy Regan was born and raised in the northern seaside town of Morecambe, England. She went on to study English and French at Leeds University where she became the features editor of the student newspaper before moving to London. She wrote for various magazines and newspapers before becoming Commissioning Editor at Marie Claire magazine. Katy's previous novels include One Thing Led to Another, The One Before the One, How We Met, and The Story of You. Little Big Man is her first for Mantle. Katy, who has one son, now lives in Hertfordshire.

#BookReview The Trenches by Parker Bilal @PGCBooks @canongatebooks #TheTrenches #ParkerBilal #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Trenches by Parker Bilal @PGCBooks @canongatebooks #TheTrenches #ParkerBilal #PGCBooks Title: The Trenches

Author: Parker Bilal

Series: Crane & Drake Mystery #3

Published by: Canongate Books Ltd on Sep. 13, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

When a woman rescued by a fishing boat off the coast of Grimsby disappears without trace, it turns out to be only the beginning of a dark investigation. Crane is soon contacted by another woman when she receives a letter out of the blue from her estranged son, not seen since he left to become a fighter for Islamic State. Drake is called in and forced to go back to his old stomping ground to infiltrate the underground network that took Jason abroad.

Meanwhile Drake’s old partner investigates the brutal murder of a journalist that appears to have worrying ties to a previous case. While Crane is in pursuit of the mystery woman, Drake finds himself drawn further into the company of a dangerous group as terror and organised crime intersect.


Review:

Sharp, intricate, and twisty!

In this latest novel in the Crane & Drake Mystery series, The Trenches, Bilal has written a clever, chilling thriller featuring former DS turned PI Calil Drake and his partner, forensic psychologist Dr. Rayhana Crane as they work together on the investigation of a missing man who seems to have vanished without a trace after leaving to fight for the Islamic State, but when it seems that their case might also be tied to a missing woman and infant who were rescued by a fishing boat and a journalist violently murdered while in the home of her MP lover, it becomes quickly apparent that something a lot more sinister is going on and this case may actually be a lot more complicated than anyone ever could have imagined.

The writing is tight and crisp. The characters are astute, diligent, and multi-layered. And the plot is a fast-paced, riveting tale full of twists, turns, action, intrigue, power, corruption, politics, duplicity, terror, manipulation, immorality, violence, murder, and organized crime.

Overall, The Trenches is another complex, diverse, engrossing thrill ride by Bilal that is an eerie reminder of just how cold, calculating and ruthless the criminal underworld truly is.

 

This book is available now.

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

 

About Parker Bilal

Parker Bilal is the author of the Makana Investigations series, the third of which, The Ghost Runner, was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. The Divinities, the first in his Crane & Drake London crime series, was published in 2019. Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub, the critically acclaimed literary novelist. Born in London, he has lived in a number of places, including the UK, Denmark, Spain and, currently, the Netherlands.

#BookReview Belle Greene by Alexandra Lapierre (translated by Tina Kover) @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #BelleGreene #AlexandraLapierre #PGCBooks #EuropaEditions

#BookReview Belle Greene by Alexandra Lapierre (translated by Tina Kover) @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #BelleGreene #AlexandraLapierre #PGCBooks #EuropaEditions Title: Belle Greene

Author: Alexandra Lapierre

Published by: Europa Editions on Jun. 23, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Based on the true story of Belle da Costa Greene, a woman who defied all odds to carve out a destiny of her own choosing, this is a richly imagined novel bursting with atmosphere, lush period detail, and many unforgettable characters.

New York in the 1900s. A young girl fascinated by rare books defies all odds and becomes the director of one of the country’s most prestigious private libraries. It belongs to the magnate J.P. Morgan, darling of the international aristocracy and one of the city’s richest men.

Flamboyant, brilliant, beautiful, Belle is among New York society’s most sought after intellectuals. She also hides a secret. Although she looks white, she is African American, the daughter of a famous black activist who sees her desire to hide her origins as the consummate betrayal. Torn between history’s ineluctable imperatives and the freedom to belong to the society of her choosing, Belle’s drama, which plays out in a violently racist America, is one that resonates forcefully, and illuminatingly even today.

The fruit of years of research and interviews, Alexandra Lapierre’s magnificent novel recounts the struggles, victories, and heartbreaks of a woman who is free, astonishingly determined, daring, and fully, exuberantly alive.


Review:

Rich, captivating, and immersive!

Belle Greene is a beautifully written, fascinating interpretation that sweeps you away to New York between 1898 and the mid-1900s and into the life of Belle Greene from the abandonment of the family by her father, the first African American to graduate from Harvard, the decision of the family due to their light skin tone to identify as white, befriending Junius Spencer Morgan while working at the Princeton library, to her illustrious career curating J. P. Morgan’s personal library.

The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are hardworking, independent, and determined. And the plot is an absorbing tale of life, loss, love, friendship, familial drama, support, passion, courage, racism, affluence, and the ins and outs of obtaining and cataloguing book collections in the early 1900s. 

Overall, Belle Greene is a well-written, compelling, exceptionally researched story by Lapierre that incorporates an engaging mix of real-life historical figures, insightful information, and plausible fiction into a comprehensive tale about the life and brilliant accomplishments of Belle de Costa Greene, one of the most famous librarians of all time.

 

This book is available now.

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

 

About Alexandra Lapierre

Alexandra Lapierre is a bestselling French novelist, short story writer and biographer. She graduated from Sorbonne University and the University of Southern California. Among her works that bring back to life great women and characters neglected by history, is the international bestseller Artemisia (Vintage, 2012). Her books have been published in more than twenty countries.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Betrayed by Reine Arcache Melvin @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #TheBetrayed #ReineArcacheMelvin #PGCBooks #EuropaEditions

#BookReview The Betrayed by Reine Arcache Melvin @EuropaEditions @PGCBooks #TheBetrayed #ReineArcacheMelvin #PGCBooks #EuropaEditions Title: The Betrayed

Author: Reine Arcache Melvin

Published by: Europa Editions on Sep. 15, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Set during a time of political upheaval and civil unrest, The Betrayed tells a sensual and sprawling story about two sisters who love the same man. Passionately told, and portraying a Philippines rarely seen in fiction, Reine Archache Melvin’s American debut is a gripping, sensual story that readers will not soon forget.

Shy, idealistic Pilar is resolved to carry on her dead father’s fight against the dictatorial regime in control of their homeland, while her flamboyant older sister Lali reacts to their father’s death by marrying the enemy—Arturo, the dictator’s godson. Each sister is prey to her desires and ambitions as she tries to find her place in a rapidly changing world.

Taking in the Philippines’ troubled history from the Marcos dictatorship to the establishment of the current autocratic regime, and expertly layering into this timely story many aspects of the human condition, The Betrayed is a complex and luminous novel.


Review:

Intense, vivid, and timely!

The Betrayed is a riveting tale that sweeps you away to the Philippines. A country ravished and oppressed by war, rebellion, oppression, economic instability, social injustice, political upheaval, and a populace that is confused, disappointed, angry and struggling with self-identity, patriotism, and a lack of rights and freedoms.

The prose is gritty and raw. The characters are multi-layered, self-indulgent, and vulnerable. And the plot is a sophisticated tale about familial relationships, moral dilemmas, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, infidelity, manipulation, exploitation, violence, deception, and jealousy.

Overall, The Betrayed is an astute, tragic, propulsive tale that does a wonderful job of delving into all the messy emotional and psychological entanglements that exist between family members, friends, our histories and the places we call home and reminds us that the choices we make often have far-reaching consequences.

 

This book is available now.

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

 

About Reine Arcache Melvin

Reine Arcache Melvin is a Filipino-American author whose works focus on the Philippines and the lives of Filipinos both at home and abroad. Arcache Melvin’s short-story collection A Normal Life and Other Stories won the Philippine National Book Award for Fiction in 1999. The Betrayed is her first novel.

#BookReview The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheChristmasPostcards #KarenSwan #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Christmas Postcards by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TheChristmasPostcards #KarenSwan #PGCBooks Title: The Christmas Postcards

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

Set in a chocolate-box village, a woman makes a surprising connection with a pen-pal that will change her life – and warm your heart – in the new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

It had been a make-or-break holiday for their marriage, but Natasha and Rob’s rekindled romance is short-lived when their daughter’s beloved soft toy disappears on the journey home.

As Natasha comforts the distraught child, she turns to social media for help. Miraculously, the toy is found, but it has become the lucky mascot of a man named Duffy, who is thousands of miles away.

When Duffy promises to keep Natasha updated with pictures, the pair begin a correspondence that soon becomes more meaningful to both of them. Sometimes, Natasha feels this stranger understands her more than the man lying next to her.

But as the weeks pass and Duffy heads deeper into the mountains, Natasha begins to notice a change in him. Then one day, the messages stop. Too late, Natasha wonders why he had ever needed a lucky mascot at all.

From the picture-perfect Cotswolds to the majesty of the Himalayan foothills, The Christmas Postcards is a novel about how the closest connections can be the furthest apart.


Review:

Atmospheric, heartfelt, and enchanting!

The Christmas Postcards is an alluring, compelling tale that sweeps you away into the life of Natasha, a young mother who, after her daughter loses her toy elephant she can’t possibly live without, begins a correspondence with the man who found it, Duffy, who seems to be on a soul-searching mission of his own and who may have actually spent a moment of time with Natasha once years before.

The prose is effortless and immersive. The characters are multilayered, troubled, and genuine. And the plot is a heartwarming tale about life, loss, love, friendship, relationship dynamics, hope, happiness, tragedy, fate, self-discovery, and romance.

I’m not sure if it’s ever truly winter unless I have a Karen Swan book to cosy up with in front of the fire, and this twenty-fourth outing is everything I could have wanted and more. The Christmas Postcards is a charming, emotional, irresistible tale by Swan that’s the perfect escapist read with its layered characters, idyllic settings, and beautifully entertaining storyline.

This novel is available now.

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

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

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