In the Blink of an Eye by Jesse Blackadder #review #fiction

Overview

Originally titled Sixty Seconds

A deeply emotional drama that explores a family’s path to forgiveness and redemption in the aftermath of a tragedy.

The Brennans — parents, Finn and Bridget, and their sons, Jarrah and Toby — have made a sea change, from chilly Hobart, Tasmania, to subtropical Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Feeling like foreigners in this land of sun and surf, they’re still adjusting to work, school, and life in a sprawling purple clapboard house, when one morning, tragedy strikes.

In the devastating aftermath, the questions fly. What really happened? And who’s to blame? Determined to protect his family, Finn finds himself under the police and media spotlight. Guilty and enraged, Bridget spends nights hunting answers in the last place imaginable. Jarrah — his innocence lost — faces a sudden and frightening adulthood where nothing is certain.

In the Blink of an Eye is a haunting, redemptive story about forgiveness and hope.

Review

The Brennan’s have uprooted and moved to a totally different place. The family, Finn, Bridget, Jarrah and Toby are just working hard to adjust to a whole new environment. New jobs, new friends, new school is tough on everybody. Then the unthinkable happens. It tears the family apart.

Jarrah is a young boy coming to terms with who he is. When the tragedy strikes he has to take on an adult role he is not ready for. Bridget is so wracked with guilt and anger she makes some self-destructive decisions. Then there is Finn. He is so determined to protect and keep his family together, he loses sight of who he is.

This is an emotional story. Each person in this family deals with the heartbreak differently and it takes a huge toll on the family as a unit. This novel takes you in an emotional roller coaster. It is hard to read in places because it rips your heart to pieces.

Don’t miss this tale of love, strength, hope and forgiveness.

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

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The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner #review #historicalfiction

Overview

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

Review

Elise is an American with German parents. Mariko is an American with Japanese parents. These two girls develop a friendship in a most unlikely place, an internment camp in Texas. Both Mariko and Elise had to put their lives on hold and basically lose everything to go into the camp. Their friendship is about the only highlight in their lives. Then Elise and her family are exchanged for POWs. They are shipped back to war torn Germany. Mariko’s family is shipped back to Japan. Their lives change forever and they lose touch for many, many years.

The path Elise’s life took, through no decisions of her own, is really amazing. She is accustomed to the life of a young American girl and then she is shipped to Germany. She has to adjust to no food, bombing raids, and terror in her everyday life. She is torn away from her only friend, and Elise has no idea if Mariko is alive or dead. Then her life changes again when she meets a young GI.

This book takes you on a ride you won’t soon forget. There is so much I want to tell y’all about this book. This is a well written, well researched, historical tale about friendship, tragedy and human spirit. There are actually parts of this book I would love to quote. A fantastic read is an understatement.

I received this novel from Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for a honest review.

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The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry #review #fiction

Overview

“The result is a thriller that intrigues and provides historical context. Berry is the master scientist with a perfect formula.” ― Associated Press

One of USA Today’s “Five Books Not to Miss!”

The next in New York Times top 5 bestseller Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series involves the Knights of Malta, papal conclave, and lost documents that could change history.

A deadly race for the Vatican’s oldest secret fuels New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s latest international Cotton Malone thriller.

The pope is dead. A conclave to select his replacement is about to begin. Cardinals are beginning to arrive at the Vatican, but one has fled Rome for Malta in search of a document that dates back to the 4th century and Constantine the Great.

Former Justice Department operative, Cotton Malone, is at Lake Como, Italy, on the trail of legendary letters between Winston Churchill and Benito Mussolini that disappeared in 1945 and could re-write history. But someone else seems to be after the same letters and, when Malone obtains then loses them, he’s plunged into a hunt that draws the attention of the legendary Knights of Malta.

The knights have existed for over nine hundred years, the only warrior-monks to survive into modern times. Now they are a global humanitarian organization, but within their ranks lurks trouble ― the Secreti ― an ancient sect intent on affecting the coming papal conclave. With the help of Magellan Billet agent Luke Daniels, Malone races the rogue cardinal, the knights, the Secreti, and the clock to find what has been lost for centuries. The final confrontation culminates behind the walls of the Vatican where the election of the next pope hangs in the balance.

Review

The pope has died and a conclave in convening. But, one cardinal may change the course of history. An ancient sect, knights and secrets are all it takes to bring in Cotton Malone. Cotton is once again on the trail of a mystery. He is searching for letters written between Churchill and Mussolini during WWII. This opens a can of worms and leads to murder and mayhem.

I have been a fan of Steve Berry for quite a long time. His book The Amber Room still ranks as one of my all time favorites. However, his past couple of books have been lacking for me. As a matter of fact, I could not even finish the last one. This one, however, is a little better. Notice, I said “a little”. This book’s subject matter is much better because it is a religious mystery with a little bit of WWII sprinkled in. Plus, this one takes you all over Italy and that is a great historical setting. No one does historical research like Steve Berry. He has wonderful history in with action and intrigue. However, I am ready for Cotton to retire. Cotton does not have the allure for me as he did in the past. I feel now that all the books read the same.

After that being said….if you have never read Steve Berry, do not let this review stop you. He is a very good writer. I am just ready for something different.

I received this novel from Minotaur Books via Netgalley for a honest review.

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Cemetery Road by Greg Iles #review #fiction #suspense

Overview

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Natchez Burning trilogy returns with an electrifying tale of friendship, betrayal, and shattering secrets that threaten to destroy a small Mississippi town.

When Marshall McEwan left his hometown at age eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away ultimately spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington D.C. But just as the political chaos in the nation’s capital lifts him to new heights, Marshall is forced to return home in spite of his boyhood vow.

His father is dying, his mother is struggling to keep the family newspaper from failing, and the town is in the midst of an economic rebirth that might be built upon crimes that reach into the state capitol—and perhaps even to Washington. More disturbing still, Marshall’s high school sweetheart, Jet, has married into the family of Max Matheson, patriarch of one of the families that rule Bienville through a shadow organization called the Bienville Poker Club.

When archeologist Buck McKibben is murdered at a construction site, Bienville is thrown into chaos. The ensuing homicide investigation is soon derailed by a second crime that rocks the community to its core. Power broker Max Matheson’s wife has been shot dead in her own bed, and the only other person in it at the time was her husband, Max. Stranger still, Max demands that his daughter-on-law, Jet, defend him in court.

As a journalist, Marshall knows all too well how the corrosive power of money and politics can sabotage investigations. Without telling a soul, he joins forces with Jet, who has lived for fifteen years at the heart of Max Matheson’s family, and begins digging into both murders. With Jet walking the dangerous road of an inside informer, they soon uncover a web of criminal schemes that undergird the town’s recent success. But these crimes pale in comparison to the secret at the heart of the Matheson family. When those who have remained silent for years dare to speak to Marshall, pressure begins to build like water against a crumbling dam.

Marshall loses friends, family members, and finally even Jet, for no one in Bienville seems willing to endure the reckoning that the Poker Club has long deserved. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.

Review

Marshall has returned home because his dad is sick. Marshall has taken over the small town newspaper his dad started. He has also taken up with an old girlfriend….and she is married to his best friend! And if that’s not enough to entertain you, one of his mentors is murdered.

As most of you know, Greg Iles is my all time favorite author. Not only is he from Mississippi, he has, what I call, “smart reads”. You cannot skim anything. If you do, you miss a key point of the story. He also has some of the most realistic characters ever. Marshall is no exception. He makes bad choices and bad decisions. But, his ultimate goal is to find out who killed his friend and why. And the why? Well! You must read to find out because, it may not be what you think.

This is an intricate piece of work full of twists and turns small town corruption and power. It is not only about one murder or three..it is about relationships, especially the relationship between father and son. It also has one of the best opening chapters of any book I have ever read.

I received this novel from William Morrow via Edelweiss for a honest review.

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Why We Lie by Amy Impellizzeri #tallpoppyblogger #tallpoppywriter #review #fiction

Overview

WHY WE LIE examines the unexpected consequences of those who tell the truth about abuse and those who lie, and asks the question: is the truth always worth the cost?

Authored by former BigLaw litigator, two-year D.C. federal court clerk, Amy Impellizzeri’s WHY WE LIE exposes the core of the #metoo movement in the legal/political realm–where powerful men have long been given a pass on criminal behavior, and victims have been discounted even within their closest circles.

Rising star politician and lawyer, Jude Birch, is clearly keeping secrets about his past from his wife. Jude has been the bystander of a seemingly gang-related shooting, but as the secrets kept since law school unravel–with the help of a zealous news reporter and the Capitol Police–his wife realizes he might not have been an unintended victim after all. Meanwhile, she makes every effort to clamp down a past marked by abuse and lies, and even a false accusation that still haunts her.

Review

Jude has been shot. This has lost his ability to lie. However, lying is the only thing that will save him. Can he do it? His wife, Aby, has her doubts.

Aby is a little bit of everything. It’s the only way I know how to describe her. She is insecure, manipulative, neurotic and a host of other disorders. But, deep down, I think she wants to do what’s right. She just has a twisted way of getting there.

After Jude is shot. Aby begins to question everything, especially Jude’s campaign manager. Something is not right…those two are hiding a secret. But, Aby’s secret is about to unravel as well. Boy, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!

This story reminds me of The Girl on the Train. It is slow moving and you think you want to stop….but you just can’t. It is so compelling. Something is going to happen…you just know it! The author really twisted this story and wove it into a tale of lies, deceit and intrigue.

I received this novel from the author for a honest review.

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Woman 99 by Greer Macallister #review #historicalfiction

Overview

A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life

Charlotte Smith’s future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister’s – until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there’s more to the story than madness. Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, “Woman Ninety-Nine,” Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn’t the only reason her fellow inmates were put away – and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out.

Review

Charlotte and Phoebe are high society sisters in San Francisco. Phoebe just does not quite fit the mold. She has outbursts and long bouts of depression. Her parents send her to a famous asylum to recover. Charlotte takes it into her own hands to save her. Charlotte pretends to be insane to enter the asylum and find her sister. This, of course, turns into more than she bargained for.

Charlotte is a lot tougher than she looks. She has a determination not many women have. Not sure I could have snuck into an asylum to save anyone. She encounters many different and unique women. Some offer help and some hinder. But, Charlotte is not a quitter and she has to use her intelligence to overcome many obstacles. There were places where I expected her to do something different than she did. So, she kept me guessing.

I fluctuated between 4 and 5 stars. This story starts slow and is a bit wordy. But, as the tale moves along….I could not put it down. The history surrounding the asylum really creates a story which is unstoppable. And boy, the treatments they went through had me spellbound. Give me a story about a hospital, asylum or old house and I am hooked.

I received this novel from Sourcebooks via Netgalley for a honest review.

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The Lieutenant’s Nurse by Sara Ackerman #review #historicalfiction

Overview

November, 1941. She’s never even seen the ocean before, but Eva Cassidy has her reasons for making the crossing to Hawaii, and they run a lot deeper than escaping a harsh Michigan winter. Newly enlisted as an Army Corps nurse, Eva is stunned by the splendor she experiences aboard the steamship SS Lurline; even more so by Lt. Clark Spencer, a man to whom she is drawn but who clearly has secrets of his own. Eva’s past–and the future she’s trying to create–means that she’s not free to follow her heart. Clark is a navy intelligence officer, and he warns her that the United States won’t be able to hold off joining the war for long, but nothing can prepare them for the surprise attack that will change the world they know.In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Eva and her fellow nurses band together for the immense duty of keeping the American wounded alive. And the danger that finds her threatens everything she holds dear. Amid the chaos and heartbreak, Eva will have to decide whom to trust and how far she will go to protect those she loves.Set in the vibrant tropical surroundings of the Pacific, The Lieutenant’s Nurse is an evocative, emotional WWII story of love, friendship and the resilient spirit of the heroic nurses of Pearl Harbor.

Review

Eva is being sent to Hawaii to be an Army Nurse. She is hoping to escape her past and to meet up with her boyfriend who is stationed at Pearl Harbor. On the voyage over she meets a Navy Intelligence Officer, Clark. Eva and Clark have a very strong connection. Even though she fights it tooth and nail, she just can’t stop her feelings.

Clark becomes aware of some Japanese communications. He tries to notify his superior. But somehow, someway, his information is never passed along. (You must read to find out why! NO SPOILERS HERE!).

I enjoyed the setting of Pearl Harbor and Hawaii. And when Pearl is bombed, I felt like I was right there. The author did a fabulous job with the destruction, tragic injuries, and the fatigue of the doctors and nurses. But, the bombing is not exactly what this book is about. Yes, it is a major part of the story. However, there is Eva and her past, Clark and his information, AND Eva’s boyfriend Billy.

This book has a little bit of everything. It’s part war story and love story with intrigue and espionage thrown in. Don’t miss this one!

I received this novel from Mira via Netgalley for a honest review.

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