Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis @jillshalvis @WmMorrowBooks #review #fiction

Overview

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis returns to Wildstone with the touching story of finding your place in the world—and the people who make it home.

Piper Manning’s about as tough as they come, she’s had to be. She raised her siblings and they’ve thankfully flown the coop. All she has to do is finish fixing up the lake house her grandparents left her, sell it, and then she’s free.

When a massive storm hits, she runs into a tall, dark and brooding stranger, Camden Reid. There’s a spark there, one that shocks her. Surprising her further, her sister and brother return, each of them holding their own secrets. The smart move would be for Piper to ignore them all but Cam unleashes emotions deep inside of her that she can’t deny, making her yearn for something she doesn’t understand. And her siblings…well, they need each other.

Only when the secrets come out, it changes everything Piper thinks she knows about her family, herself…and Cam. Can she find a way to outrun the demons? The answer is closer than she thinks—just as the new life she craves may have already begun.

Review

Piper has raised her siblings and is really wanting to go back to school and get her degree. But, as with all families, things change like the wind. Her brother and sister both show up with baggage they are not ready to share. Then to add to her distress…there is Cam. Cam is a love interest…absolutely NOT what she was looking for.

Cam and Piper are so good for each other. He really knows how to help her come out of her shell…in more ways than one….I loved Cam. He is a super nice guy, plus he is super HOT! As a matter of fact, I loved all the characters in this read. They all had their part to play and The complemented each other so well.

Let me say this about Jill Shalvis…she is a such a steady author! Her stories are always good, funny and will ALWAYS put a smile on your face. This book hit me at the right time. I needed something lite, but serious. This was perfect.

If you do not follow Jill on social media, you are missing out. She is a hoot! This is an author I have not met yet, but I would love to have a glass of wine and chat.

Let me add a little side note…this cover does not fit this story AT ALL. Piper is scared to go out on the water…and she takes care of a cat, not a dog.

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Whispers of War by Julia Kelly @gallerybooks #review #historicalfiction

Overview

The start of World War II looms over three friends who struggle to remain loyal as one of them is threatened with internment by the British government, from the author of the “sweeping, stirring” (Kristin Harmel, internationally bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie) The Light Over London. 

In August of 1939, as Britain watches the headlines in fear of another devastating war with Germany, three childhood friends must choose between friendship or country. Erstwhile socialite Nora is determined to find her place in the Home Office’s Air Raid Precautions Department, matchmaker Hazel tries to mask two closely guarded secrets with irrepressible optimism, and German expat Marie worries that she and her family might face imprisonment in an internment camp if war is declared. When Germany invades Poland and tensions on the home front rise, Marie is labeled an enemy alien, and the three friends find themselves fighting together to keep her free at any cost.

Featuring Julia Kelly’s signature “intricate, tender, and convincing” (Publishers Weekly) prose, The Whispers of War is a moving and unforgettable tale of the power of friendship and womanhood in the midst of conflict.

Review

Three young women, friends since childhood, struggle to come to terms with the changes in their lives. Germany has invaded Poland and England is about to go war.

These three young ladies are a determined bunch. Marie is originally from Germany. She has lived in England most of her life. Now she is threatened with an internment camp. Her friends come together to make sure this does not happen! But, they have some tough decisions to make.

I loved Julia Kelly’s novel Light Over London. (It is definitely a 5 star read) But this one fell short for me. I just felt like the story did not go anywhere. It is basically three young women worried about whether their German friend is going to be placed into an internment camp. I kept waiting for the story to have action and more intensity. This did not develop. But, it is well researched and I did learn some things about London during the beginning of WWII.

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

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Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain @StMartinsPress #review #5stars

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain comes an irresistible new novel in Big Lies in a Small Town.

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets. 

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder. 

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

“Chamberlain’s depictions of creative beauty and perseverance across time and in the face of inevitable obstacles will keep readers turning the pages.”—Publishers Weekly 

“Chamberlain’s writing is reminiscent of a quilt made up of pieces from different people, places, and times, stitched together into a single, emotional story.”—Booklist

Review

This story is told by two different narrators in two different time periods, Anna, set in 1940s and Morgan set in present day. Anna has been hired to create a mural for a small town post office. Morgan has been hired to restore this mural. As Morgan begins her restoration, she uncovers some serious idiosyncrasies within the painting. Well, of course this leads her to try and find out more about Anna.

Morgan is a character which cannot help but pull at your heartstrings. She has a past she is trying to overcome. She has been in prison for something she did not do. So this mural is her redeeming grace. She is determined to do the best job she can. But these peculiarities are just something she cannot over look. I enjoyed her tenacity and her warm heart.

Well, I am off to a fantastic start in 2020. Diane Chamberlain has tons of books. I have only read a handful. I did not discover her till a couple of years ago…WHY? How have I missed this author…I have no idea! BUT! I have completely fallen in love with her talent. She spins a tale like no other. This story is complex and totally engrossing. Need a good book to start your year off right…THIS IS IT!

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

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Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict @sourcebooks #historicalfiction #bookexpo2019

Overview

From Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room! An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill. 

In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband. 

Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.

Also by Marie Benedict: 
The Only Woman in the Room
The Other Einstein
Carnegie’s Maid

Review

This book has been burning a hole in my bookshelf. I received it at Book Expo 2019 but have not had time to pick it up. Marie Benedict has become one of my favorite authors. She always chooses a strong woman from history to focus on. This time she chose Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine.

Clementine was an amazing lady. She definitely was a force to be reckoned with, especially where Winston was concerned. She was a huge part of his decision making. Plus, she was also his speech analyst. She undeniably bucked him up when he needed it.

I adore a book which teaches me something I did not know. And almost all of Marie Benedict’s books do this. Now, is this book perfect…no. There are several places where the daily tasks were just mundane. So, this is not my favorite Marie Benedict book. But, it is still not to be missed. Clementine was a minor character in history. I virtually knew nothing about her. But, boy…she had a huge influence on the world today.

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All The Ways We Said Good Bye by Beatriz Williams, Laura Willig and Karen White @WmMorrowBooks #historicalfiction #review

Overview

The New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.

The heiress . . .
The Resistance fighter . . . 
The widow . . .
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel

France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.

France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.

France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart. . . .

Review

Drew is an attorney from the USA. He is very interested in finding La Fleur, a resistance fighter and possibly a traitor. His investigation leads him to Kit. Kit has recently passed away. But his wife, Babs, is determined to find out about this mysterious woman which has haunted her marriage since the beginning.

This story is full of intrigue and mystery. I love the way the authors incorporate the different time periods. The fluctuations of the stories and how they meld together are very unique and creative.

As usual, these three ladies have done a marvelous job. I enjoyed the secrets, the family history and of course the setting. It did slow down in places but I still found myself engrossed in the mystery of La Fleur. Who was she? Well, you must read this story to find out!

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

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The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin @harlequinbooks #review #fiction

Overview

It’s The Holiday on the Champs-Élysées in a great big love letter to Paris, charming old bookstores and happily-ever-afters!

When bookshop owner Sarah Smith is offered the opportunity for a job exchange with her Parisian friend Sophie, saying yes is a no-brainer—after all, what kind of romantic would turn down six months in Paris? Sarah is sure she’s in for the experience of a lifetime—days spent surrounded by literature in a gorgeous bookshop, and the chance to watch the snow fall on the Eiffel Tower. Plus, now she can meet up with her journalist boyfriend, Ridge, when his job takes him around the globe.

But her expectations cool faster than her café au lait soon after she lands in the City of Light—she’s a fish out of water in Paris. The customers are rude, her new coworkers suspicious and her relationship with Ridge has been reduced to a long-distance game of phone tag, leaving Sarah to wonder if he’ll ever put her first over his busy career. As Christmas approaches, Sarah is determined to get the shop—and her life—back in order…and make her dreams of a Parisian happily-ever-after come true.

Review

Sarah and Sophie are good friends and they both own book shops. They just live in separate parts of the world. They decide to do a bookshop exchange. They swap bookstores. Sophie moves to America and Sarah gets her dream. She moves to Paris! However, it is not as much fun as she expected. Sarah’s passport and money get stolen right off the bat. Plus, Sophie’s store is much busier than Sarah’s and Sarah is more stressed and she not having much time to explore.

This story focuses mostly on Sarah. She is the one looking to have a new experience. Sophie is looking to escape an old boyfriend. Sarah really has a time of it. But, oh how I enjoyed her struggles. The shop is in an old building and it has different levels with different rooms. I could just picture it in my mind and boy would I love to explore it.

This story is perfect for a bibliophile! I can just smell the books and feel the energy around this book shop. I wanted so badly to climb into this book and be a part of the scenes. It does slow down some in the middle. But, it is still a great read with the setting of Paris and all the book references. Plus, the characters are perfect.

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

THE LITTLE BOOKSHOP ON THE SEINE

Author: Rebecca Raisin 

ISBN: 9781335012500

Publication Date: 1/7/2020

Publisher: HQN Books

 

Buy Links: 

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Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JaxandWillsMum

Facebook: @RebeccaRaisinAuthor

Instagram: @RebeccaRaisinWrites

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Author Bio: Rebecca Raisin is the author of several novels, including the beloved Little Paris series and the Gingerbread Café trilogy, and her short stories have been published in various anthologies and fiction magazines. You can follow Rebecca on Facebook, and at http://www.rebeccaraisin.com

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First Cut by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell @harlequinbooks #review #suspense #fiction

Overview

For San Francisco’s newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past.

Instead she faces a chilling discovery when an opioid-overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie’s superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving drug dealers and Bitcoin brokers.

Drawing on her real-life experiences as a forensics expert, Judy Melinek teams up with husband T.J. Mitchell to deliver the most exhilarating mystery of the year. Autopsy means “see for yourself,” and Jessie Teska won’t stop until she has seen it all—even if it means that the next corpse on the table could be her own.

Review

Jessie is starting a new job in a new city. She is also running from her past. She is hoping this change of scenery helps. But, this too backfires as she finds herself in the middle of murders, drug dealers and other elaborate schemes.

Jessie is doing an autopsy on a young woman. There is just something not right. She can’t quite figure it out. The further she investigates the more hinky (yes that is a word) this death becomes. And boy, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!

This book starts off with a bang. I had a hard time putting it down. But, as the story unfolded, I figured out most of the mystery….bummer. I hate when a story does that to me. I like to be kept guessing till the end. I still enjoyed this novel. It is intriguing and completely captivating.

This tale also has some pretty graphic scenes. So, it might not be for everyone. However, it has a great setting of San Francisco and I thoroughly enjoyed Jessie. She has some hang ups. But she is not dumb! That is a huge plus in my book.

A wild ride if I do say so myself!

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

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