The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse @minotaurbooks #review #historicalfiction

Overview

For fans of juicy historical fiction, this one might just develop into their next obsession.”EW.com

From the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Labyrinth, comes the first in an epic new series.

Power and Prejudice: France, 1562. War sparks between the Catholics and Huguenots, dividing neighbors, friends, and family—meanwhile, nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: She knows that you live.

Love and Betrayal: Before Minou can decipher the mysterious message, she meets a young Huguenot convert, Piet Reydon. Piet has a dangerous task of his own, and he will need Minou’s help if he is to stay alive. Soon, they find themselves on opposing sides, as forces beyond their control threaten to tear them apart.

Honor and Treachery: As the religious divide deepens, Minou and Piet find themselves trapped in Toulouse, facing new dangers as tensions ignite across the city—and a feud that will burn across generations begins to blaze. . .

“A masterly tour of history . . . a breathless thriller, alive with treachery, danger, atmosphere, and beauty.”A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

Review

Huguenot and Catholics collide in France. Everyone is at each other’s throats and no one knows whom to trust. Minou is the daughter of a book seller. Piet is a Huguenot. These two come together at one of the most dangerous times in history. Both end up leaning on each other just to survive and stay alive.

Oh wow! The research Kate Mosse does to write her stories is outstanding. I have been a fan for many, many years. She always teaches me something new. I enjoyed many aspects of this read. The rich history, the setting, and the action and betrayals really keep a reader turning pages. However, I did feel it was disjointed in places. But, I was enraptured and enraged with mans inhumanity to man. Something about Kate Mosse rich historical settings and the way she reels the reader in, will keep me a fan forever!

Don’t miss this one!

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The Summer Country by Laura Willig

Overview

A brilliant, multigenerational saga in the tradition of THE THORN BIRDS and NORTH AND SOUTH, New York Timesbestselling historical novelist Lauren Willig delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Barbados, 1854: Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan– merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day.  But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned. 

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins?  Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills? The answer lies in the past— a tangled history of lies, greed, clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

THE SUMMER COUNTRY will beguile readers with its rendering of families, heartbreak, and the endurance of hope against all odds. 

Review

Emily finds herself the unexpected owner of a sugar plantation in Barbados. When she arrives in Barbados she finds the plantation a burned out shell. Emily, for the life of her, cannot figure out why her grandfather left this rundown plantation to her.

The setting of Barbados in the 1800’s is definitely unique. Slavery on a sugar plantation in colonial Barbados is an extremely interesting time period. Lots of research went into this tale. And Emily! She is a no nonsense, take no prisoners kind of gal…within reason. She knows how to use her head!

This is not my favorite book by Laura Willig. Starts very slow. I put it down because I just could not get into it. But, I did go back and pick it up a couple of weeks later. Sometimes a book just needs to hit you at the right time. The story did pick up as I moved into the novel. Lots of intriguing questions arise… family secrets, greed, ghosts….yes ghosts! Keeps you guessing till the end!

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Montauk by Nicola Harrison @stmartinspress #review #fiction

Overview

An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…

Review

Beatrice is to spend the summer on Montauk, a high society resort outside NYC. She is planning on reconnecting with her husband and hopefully becoming pregnant. Nothing goes as planned. She discovers her husbands infidelities and realizes her life is not exactly what she expected.

I enjoyed this time period and the setting. Who doesn’t like leisurely (entitled) ladies spending a summer at the beach? But, I understand why Beatrice started to expand her horizons. These society ladies would get on anybody’s nerves. Beatrice inserts herself into the life of the laundry lady. This leads her to the light house. And to an attraction she never expected.

I applaud Beatrice! She does not let society rule her thoughts and actions. She is smart and uses her abilities to change her stars.

I enjoyed this novel. I just felt it was a little wordy and moved a little slow. But, isn’t this cover wonderful!

I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.

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The Summer Guests by Mary Alice Monroe @gallerybooks #fiction #review

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Beach House series comes a heartwarming and evocative novel about the bonds and new beginnings that are born from natural disasters and how, even during the worst of circumstances—or perhaps because of them—we discover what is most important in life. 

Late August is a beautiful time on the Southern coast—the peach trees are ripe, the ocean is warm, and the sweet tea is icy. A perfect time to enjoy the rocking chairs on the porch. But beneath the calm surface bubbles a threat: it’s also peak hurricane season.

When a hurricane threatens the coasts of Florida and South Carolina, an eclectic group of evacuees flees for the farm of their friends Grace and Charles Phillips in North Carolina: the Phillips’s daughter Moira and her rescue dogs, famed equestrian Javier Angel de la Cruz, makeup artist Hannah McLain, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and island resident Cara Rutledge. They bring with them only the few treasured possessions they can fit in their vehicles. Strangers to all but the Phillips, they must ride out the storm together.

During the course of one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, relationships are put to the test as the evacuees are forced to confront the unresolved issues they have with themselves and with each other. But as the storm passes, they realize that what really matters isn’t what they brought with them to the mountains. Rather, it’s what they’ll take with them once they leave.

With Mary Alice Monroe’s “usual resplendent storytelling” (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author), The Summer Guests is a poignant and compelling story of self-discovery, love, and redemption.

Review

There is a hurricane headed toward Florida. A mandatory evacuation is in effect. People are loading up their valuables and heading to high ground. Charles and Grace have opened their farm to family and their very eclectic friends and ALL their animals.

Hannah and Javier, Gerda and Elise, Moira, Cara all arrive at the farm with horses and dogs. This creates a unique environment. It opens their eyes to what they need to change in their lives and what strength is needed to overcome many of life’s obstacles. Each person takes something new away from this experience and all of it is life changing.

There are lots of characters in this read but each are unique and have their own set of worries and difficulties. Mary Alice Monroe always has the best characters. They are so relatable and real! I also enjoyed the horses and learning about dressage. No one does animals, nature and people like MAM!

This is not my favorite Mary Alice Monroe book but it is still wonderful. I love that MAM changes her stories. She does not keep the same “beach reads”. She expands her horizons. And this novel fast paced and unique!

I received this novel from Gallery Books for a honest review.

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The Perfect Date by Evelyn Lozada @stmartinspress #review #romance

 Synopsis:

When a single mom ends up playing an unwilling fake girlfriend to a charming playboy baseball player, love suddenly turns everything upside down in this fun, heartwarming multicultural romance.

Angel Gomez has never lived by the book. A Bronx-based unwed mother by the time she was sixteen, Angel’s personal mission has always been to show the world that a Puerto Rican girl is not to be messed with—especially by a man. The only thing that matters to Angel, now, is providing for her son and earning enough tips at the club to complete her nursing degree along the way. Love is nowhere on her agenda.

Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is a star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts whose romantic escapades make delicious fodder for gossip columns. But lately he’s been trying to keep a lower profile—so much so that when he meets Angel, first while she’s in her nurse uniform and the next time behind the bar, she has no idea who Duke is, fails to fall for his obvious charm, and ends up throwing a drink in his face! She is the perfect woman for Duke…to fool the tabloids into thinking he’s finally settling down. But what begins as a charade soon has Duke and Angel hurtling into a full-blown romance that rocks each of their worlds and begs the question: Is this the real deal—or are some love stories just too good to be true?

Review

Angel is one hardworking single mother. She works at a club at night to support her and her son. She is also in nursing school. She has no intention of falling in love. She just doesn’t have time for that! Enter Caleb! He is the star pitcher for the Bronx Bolts and Angel is not impressed! She is immune to his charm and good looks….until she isn’t!

Caleb and Angel have a love-hate thing going at the first. Angel is a fiery Puerto Rican and she does not take crap off of anyone. She doesn’t care if that someone IS the star pitcher. Caleb is attracted to her from the first he laid eyes on her. These two make a wonderful team.

I enjoyed Angel. She is my type of female character. She is tough, independent and smart. She and Caleb have a rocky start. But, soon they both realize they have way to much chemistry to ignore. Plus any book that talks baseball is perfect for me! This is a quick, enjoyable romance.

I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press for a honest review.

About the author

EVELYN LOZADA, is a high-profile American-Latina reality television personality, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. She is best known for her role on VH1’s hit series Basketball Wives (2010-present), OWN’s hit series Livin Lozada (2015), author of the first installment of the book series: The Wives Association: Inner Circle (2012) and creator of Healthy Boricua (A Puerto Rican Lifestyle Guide to Healthy Living). Evelyn has become a national trendsetter, a “go to” fitness export, jewelry designer, fashion and beauty maven, social media royalty and a stimulating voice and proactive supporter of causes that effect women and girls through the Evelyn Lozada Foundation. Evelyn is a Bronx native, mother of two (ShanieceHairston and Carl Leo Crawford) that currently resides in Los Angeles.

Holly Lörincz is a successful collaborative writer and owner of Lorincz Literary Services. She is an award-winning novelist (Smart Mouth, The Everything Girl) and co-author (best-selling Crown Heights, and How to Survive a Day in Prison) living in Oregon.

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https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250204882

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The Favorite Daughter by Patti Callahan Henry @berkleypub #review #fiction

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Bookshop at Water’s End, here is a lush, heart-wrenching novel about the power of memory, the meaning of family, and learning to forgive.

Ten years ago, Lena Donohue experienced a wedding-day betrayal so painful that she fled the small town of Watersend, South Carolina, and reinvented herself in New York City. Though now a freelance travel writer, the one place she rarely goes is home—until she learns of her dad’s failing health.

Returning to Watersend means seeing the sister she has avoided for a decade and the brother who runs the family’s Irish pub and has borne the burden of his sisters’ rift. While Alzheimer’s slowly steals their father’s memories, the siblings rush to preserve his life in stories and in photographs. As his secret past brings Lena’s own childhood into focus, it sends her on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

Review

Lena’s sister betrayed her on her wedding day. Leans runs away to the big city of NYC and does not speak to her sister for over a decade. She receives a call from her brother begging her to come home. Her dad is going downhill and he needs her. Lena is unsure how to even deal with going home. But, her dad is her rock. So she heads home to hopefully heal her family.

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this read. I read it on the plane to BookExpo. I was so engrossed in Lena’s story. Lena is escaping a hurt. Maybe she should have stuck it out to help keep her family ties together. But, it just was not in her. Lena has to come to terms with her sister, her hurt, and her ex-fiancé. This is easier said than done. And her sister does not make it easy!

This is not just a story about betrayal. It is a story about love, healing, and family! Captivating, heartbreaking, engrossing…I could go on and on. Patti Callahan Henry hit it out of the park with this one.

I received this novel from Tandem Literary for a honest review.

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My May Reads Wrap-Up #reviews #mayreads

May was a very eclectic month for me. I had romance, historical fiction, suspense and of course, good summer reads to kick off the season!

PLUS! BOOK EXPO! I have the best time at book expo. I meet new people and learn about so many books to come!

Now….here we go with May Reads! Lots of good ones in here!

Sunset Beach by Mary Kay Andrews #review #fiction

White Peak by Ronan Frost #fiction #thriller @stmartinspress

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin #review #historicalfiction

The Summer Retreat by Shelia Roberts #romance #review #fiction

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister @stmartinspress #review #fiction

Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey #review #fiction

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren @gallerybooks #review #fiction

These next two will have reviews coming up very soon!

Now there was one I did not finish. It just had too much cruelty in it for me to finish. I am in the minority. It is highly rated. I just was not in the mood for this type of read. Read it for yourself and form your own opinion.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

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