The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson @simonschuster @janejohnsonbakr #review #historicalfiction

Overview

A broken family, a house of secrets—an entrancing tale of love and courage set during the Second World War.

After Rebecca’s mother dies, she must sort through her empty flat and come to terms with her loss. As she goes through her mother’s mail, she finds a handwritten envelope. In it is a letter that will change her life forever.

Olivia, her mother’s elderly cousin, needs help to save her beloved home. Rebecca immediately goes to visit Olivia in Cornwall only to find a house full of secrets—treasures in the attic and a mysterious tunnel leading from the cellar to the sea, and Olivia, nowhere to be found.

As it turns out, the old woman is stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her house is made habitable again. Rebecca sets to work restoring the home to its former glory, but as she peels back the layers of paint and grime, she uncovers even more buried secrets—secrets from a time when the Second World War was raging, when Olivia was a young woman, and when both romance and danger lurked around every corner…

A sweeping and utterly spellbinding tale of a young woman’s courage in the face of war and the lengths to which she’ll go to protect those she loves against the most unexpected of enemies.

Review

Rebecca is cleaning out her mother’s flat after her death. She comes across an old letter from Olivia, an elderly relative she did not know she had. Olivia is in dire need of help so Rebecca decides she needs to be there. She has no idea what to expect. And it turns out to be much more than expected!

The house is falling apart, literally, when Rebecca arrives. She also discovers that Olivia is in the hospital and cannot return until her house is fixed. Rebecca takes this on and discovers quite a few buried secrets and dangers.

I love Olivia. You talk about cantankerous and a tough old nut to crack…she is it! She has lived a tough life as Rebecca slowly discovers.

Then there is Rebecca. She is actually running away from home and Olivia is just a fabulous excuse to do so. She and Olivia slowly develop a like and a trust for each other. Rebecca also discovers she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

I enjoyed so many parts to this story. The mystery and the hidden secrets really captivated me. I did feel the flash backs to Olivia’s life during WWII slowed down the story. It is a necessary part of the novel. I just did not enjoy it as much as the present day portion.

The characters, the setting and the mystery really work so well together and I would love to have a sequel.

Need an all around good story…this is it! Grab your copy today!

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

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The Best of 2020! #5starreads #yearendwrapup #bestofthebest

I did not realize how many 5 star reads I actually had in 2020! I had a good many! What a great year for books. Check out the BEST OF THE BEST!

Big Lies in a Small Town
An Everyday Hero
You Are Not Alone
The Henna Artist
Truths I Never Told You
The Heirloom Garden
Behind Every Lie
The Ancestor
The Bright Side of Going Dark
Saving Ruby King
You Can’t Catch Me
The Last Train to Key West
We Came Here to Shine
The House of Long Ago
Her Last Flight
The Lost and Found Bookshop
The Woman Before Wallis
The Two Mrs. Carlyles
The Night Swim
The Last of The Moon Girls
The Exiles
Don’t Look for Me
The Book of Two Ways
Confessions on the 7:45
The First to Lie
Tsarina

Wrong Alibi

What were the BEST OF THE BEST for you! Inquiring minds want to know!

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December Escapes and Escapades #escapesandescapades #5starreads #wrapup

Finally….the end of 2020! What a long, interesting and devastating year.

Here’s to a better year! Here’s to

Escapades

I really…honestly…did nothing but work this month. So, here are some of my favorite pictures for the year.

All in all, it has been an “ok” year. We have come through basically unscathed. Not everyone in my little town can say that. Hopefully, 2021 will be better and happier for everyone.

Now on to the

Escapes

Arctic Fury
Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish
Under a Gilded Moon
Possession
Boone

I also read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue for my book club.

This book is not to be missed. It really makes you think. And really….be careful what you wish for.

I tried really hard to get ahead for January. I have TONS of reviews due for this month so stay tuned!

What did you read and enjoy for December?!?! Inquiring minds want to know!

And…

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Audible Reads for December #audiobooks #wrapup #audible #audiblebooks

Well! My selection of audible books this month were quite eclectic. This should be a post all readers should enjoy!

First up is a brilliant read. It is a historical mystery with a kick!

You can see my full review here

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A Child Lost

Next up….a biography that absolutely had me laughing and crying at the same time.

I mean…anything involving this man…OMG. And he narrated it himself and did a fantastic job. This is not to be missed!

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Greenlights

And last but not least!

I am a huge WWII fan. And this one did not disappoint. I loved everything. The characters, the intensity and the struggle.

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We Were The Lucky Ones

What were your favorite reads for the month of December?

Thanks for stopping by!

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Boone: Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas @stmartinspress #fiction #romance #review

Overview

In Eternity Springs: The McBrides of TexasNew York Times bestselling author Emily March presents a brand new arc set in the Lone Star State that features a family-linked trilogy within the author’s romantic series.

With his smooth talk, rugged good looks, and deep pockets, native Texan Boone McBride appears to be a man who has it all. Few people know about the heartbreak behind his decision to leave home, family, and career for the isolation of a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Luckily, time and life in Eternity Springs has worked its healing magic upon his wounded soul, so when he meets obviously troubled Hannah Dupree, Boone sees a chance to pay his good fortune forward. The last thing he anticipates is tumbling into love.

Tragedy has taken everything Hannah loves, and her will to keep going is failing. So when Boone strides into her life determined to save her, it’s easier to go along with him than to resist. Soon she is drawn into the fabric of life in Eternity Springs, and as her spirit begins to heal, her strength returns, and she’s able to go toe-to-toe with this hardheaded, big-hearted Texan. But just when love blooms and happiness is within their grasp, shadows from the past threaten. Hannah and Boone must stand strong and united in order to defeat old ghosts—if they are to create a brand-new life together.

Review

Hannah is searching. Searching for something better out of life. She has lost everything she has ever loved. She is contemplating ending it all when Boone McBride enters her life. His giving heart and, of course, his magnetism creates a sensation she has not felt in a long time. Will Hannah let Boone in her life or will she let him go?

This is my least favorite type of romance novel. It’s a little too sweet and too dramatic. But, this type of romance has its followers and I totally understand the appeal. It is so nice to have a feel good read without complications or too many surprises. And this story hit me at the right time. I fell head over heels for Boone. He has strength, charisma and he has a huge heart…what is not to love!

Need a feel good charmer! This is it! Great characters and a wonderful setting of Eternity Springs, Colorado makes this story worth your time! Grab your copy today.

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

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The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little #historicalfiction @harlequinbooks

Overview

A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph—and the sisters who changed fashion forever

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family at a young age, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish cafés of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy—and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a boutique business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns.

But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices, and they’ll have to gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

The Chanel Sisters explores with care the timeless need for belonging, purpose, and love, and the heart’s relentless pursuit of these despite daunting odds. Beautifully told to the last page.” —Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War

Review

The Chanel sisters were abandoned at a very young age. They were raised in an orphanage by nuns. But, as hard as the nuns tried, they could not contain these sisters. These ladies were determined to achieve whatever they wanted at whatever it cost!

These young ladies were strong willed and very intelligent. They all have different personalities which create a unique understanding between the sisters. I loved how they had each other’s back…but could also put each other in their place!

This has a lot of mundane details. I was a little bored through some of it. It was better toward the end. But, the history of this time period and of these fascinating women is very enjoyable. I love strong women and Coco is one of the best! Nothing stopped her!

I received this from the publisher for a honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUDITHE LITTLE is the award-winning author of Wickwythe Hall. She earned a BA in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She grew up in Virginia and now lives with her husband, three teenagers, and three dogs in Houston, Texas. Find her on Instagram, @judithelittle, and on Facebook, facebook.com/judithelittle.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: http://www.judithelittle.com/

Instagram: @judithelittle

FB: @judithe.little

BUY LINKS:

Murder By The Book

Barrington Books

IndieBound

Bookshop.org

Indigo

Amazon

Apple

Kobo

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Libro.FM

Audible

Google Play

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The Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd @harlequinbooks @christinadodd #fiction #5starread #suspense

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd comes a brand new, standalone thriller featuring a bold and brash female protagonist, a brutal and twisty murder that will have readers turning the pages and a villain that will have them keeping the lights on at night. WRONG ALIBI is perfect for the thriller/suspense category and fans of Lisa Jewell, Karin Slaughter, and Sandra Brown.

WRONG JOB
Eighteen year old Evelyn Jones lands a job in small town Alaska, working for a man in his isolated mountain home. But her hopes for the future are shattered when Donald White disappears, leaving her to face charges of theft, embezzlement — and a brutal double murder. Convicted, she faces life in prison.

WRONG NAME
Her escape leaves her scarred and in hiding, isolated from her family, working under an alias at a wilderness camp. Bent on vengeance, intent on recovering her life, she searches for Donald White.

WRONG ALIBI
At last, the day comes. Donald White has returned. Evelyn emerges from hiding. The fugitive becomes the hunter. But in her mind, she hears the whisper of other forces at work. Can Evelyn untangle the threads of evidence before she’s once again found with blood on her hands…the blood of her own family?

Review

Evelyn just got released from juvenile detention. She has a job in a small town in Alaska. She is so excited about this new start. She will be close to her mom and her sister. But, the job does not turn out the way she expects and she ends up accused of murder. Through a harrowing accident she escapes and becomes someone new in the wilds of Alaska. However, Evelyn must return after several years as a fugitive because she must save her mom from an old threat!

When this book began and the setting was Alaska…I was so excited. I love reading about Alaska. Little did I know this book would take me on a wild ride! Talk about wicked! This book is wickedly good! I was actually gasping for air at the end…well several times through this book but especially the end. This book NEVER STOPS! I loved everything about it. The setting, the intensity, the characters and the story itself is over the top!

I know this author has been on the scene for quite a while. Believe it or not…I have never read her books…I MUST remedy that soon.

Grab your copy today! You will not be sorry!

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

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I Was Called Barabbas by M.D. House – Book Spotlight

Overview

We know precious little of the man called Barabbas, a contemporary of Jesus of Nazareth. He is variously described in the historical record as thief, murderer, rebel, and notable Roman prisoner. His release by the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate was part of the supernal plan for the Christ to offer himself as the ultimate blood sacrifice, but it’s doubtful Barabbas understood any of that at the time.Many have wondered what became of him, or rather, who he became after that fateful day. Someday we will know the answer, but in the meantime we can imagine that, like all of us, he too sought a path of personal redemption, imperfectly.

About the author

M.D. House enjoyed a successful first career in the mysterious world of Corporate Finance, but creating and telling stories (and NOT about Finance) was his true love. His first full-length novel was a sci-fi work called “Patriot Star.” His second was historical fiction about the life of Barabbas, titled “I Was Called Barabbas.” Sequels to both are coming soon.

Writing isn’t just fun for him, it’s an important way to share his passion, beliefs and vision with family, friends, and anyone else who loves great storytelling with powerful human perspective and emotion.

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A Child Lost by Michelle Cox @michellecox33 @suzyapbooktours #audiblebook

About The Book : 

A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .

When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigate a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta—much to Clive’s dismay—begins to believe the spiritualist’s strange ramblings.

Meanwhile, Elsie implores Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.

Review

Henrietta and Clive have taken on a case investigating a spiritualist. It should be easy. It should be open and shut. However, it has taken an unexpected turn when the spiritualist seems to know more than they expected.

Then there is Gunther and Anna. Gunther is Anna’s guardian by default. (There is a backstory you do not want to miss). Anna is a sweet little girl but she has seizures. She has been removed and sent to an insane asylum. Henrietta goes above and beyond to try and get the poor child out.

I enjoyed many aspects of this audible book. But my favorite part was the insane asylum. Wow! Creepy, awful and strange all at the same time. I could just picture the locked doors, the patients and the awful smell. What a great job the author did with this part of the book.

The narrator is also excellent. She did an amazing job with all the characters, especially the voices. She truly transported you to each scene and experience.

This is a story you do not want to miss. This is part of a series. I have not read the others and I did not feel lost at all. I am definitely going to go back and read the other books. I enjoy Clive and Henrietta.

Grab your copy today!

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

About The Author: 

Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade. http://michellecoxauthor.com/

Social Media:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellecoxauthor/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/michellecoxwrites

Twitter: @michellecox33

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Under A Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake @joyjordanlake @suzyapprved @suzyapbooktours #historicalfiction

About The Book: 

Crawdads meets the Crawleys…Threaded through with a meticulously researched, well-crafted mystery, this is historical fiction at its best.” —Fiona Davis, nationally bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

From the bestselling author of A Tangled Mercy comes an enthralling novel of secrets, a tumultuous war of ideas, and murder as classes collide in the shadow of Biltmore House.

Biltmore House, a palatial mansion being built by the Vanderbilts, American “royalty,” is in its final stages of construction in North Carolina. The country’s grandest example of privilege, it symbolizes the aspirations of its owner and the dreams of a girl, just as driven, who lives in its shadow.

Kerry MacGregor’s future is derailed when, after two years in college in New York City, family obligations call her home to the beautiful Appalachians. She is determined to distance herself from the opulence she sees rising in the Blue Ridge Mountains, however close its reach. Her family’s land is among the last pieces required to complete the Biltmore Estate. But something more powerful than an ambitious Vanderbilt heir could change Kerry’s fate as, one by one, more outsiders descend on the changing landscape—a fugitive from Sicily, a reporter chasing a groundbreaking story, a debutante tainted by scandal, and a conservationist prepared to put anyone at risk to stoke the resentment of the locals.

As Kerry finds herself caught in a war between wealth and poverty, innocence and corruption, she must navigate not only her own pride and desperation to survive but also the temptations of fortune and the men who control it.

Review

Kerry has been called home from school to attend to family matters. She finds her beautiful Appalachian mountains changed a bit with the addition of the massive Biltmore Estate. She also finds her family’s lands and her new life surrounded by corruption and scandal.

This had a rough start for me. The author introduces a ton of characters at the first. There is very little backstory and very few connections to each other. I felt a little lost. But, the further I read the better and better the story became. The magical setting of the Biltmore and the unique mystery just came together and made for a very good read.

And isn’t this cover FANTASTIC!

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

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About The Author: 

Joy Jordan-Lake is the author of eight books, including A Tangled Mercy, a #1 Amazon bestseller and also an Editors’ Choice recipient from the Historical Novel Society; Blue Hole Back Home, which won the Christy Award for First Novel; and the children’s book A Crazy-Much Love. Raised in the foothills of the Appalachians, she spent several summers in and around Asheville, North Carolina, where the Biltmore Estate is located. She continues to love the Blue Ridge Mountains and drags friends and family there with her whenever possible. Jordan-Lake holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in English and has taught literature and writing at several universities. Now living outside Nashville, she and her husband have two daughters, a son, and a ferocious ten-pound rescue pup. To learn more about the author and her work, visit www.joyjordanlake.com .

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Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyjordanlakeauthor/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/joyjordanlake_books

Twitter: @joyjordanlake

Book Blurbs:

“Elegantly written and expertly crafted, Under a Gilded Moon soars as high as any piece of literature can reach. You’re transported to a time and place in history that begs [to be] read late into the night.” —Robert Dugoni, international bestselling author of The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell and the Tracy Crosswhite series

“I was swept away by this dazzling, masterfully written tale of the clash of classes and cultures around the Biltmore in North Carolina. Joy Jordan-Lake brings the past alive with impeccable details, raw emotion, and parallels to our present world. A triumph.” —Emily Carpenter, bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls

“This is historical fiction at its finest. With pitch-perfect dialogue and details so rich and so right, Joy Jordan-Lake sets us squarely—lock, stock, and barrel—in 1895 Asheville, NC, in not just one but two distinctive worlds. The grand Vanderbilts and their luxurious Biltmore fascinated me, and the mountain people with their human struggles pulled at my heart.” —Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, winner of the 2017 Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction and the 2019 Patricia Winn Award for Southern Literature

“Crawdads meets the Crawleys in Jordan-Lake’s latest, where she offers up a powerful location in the Biltmore House of Asheville, North Carolina. Pitting rugged locals against Gilded Age interlopers and threaded throughout with a meticulously researched, well-crafted mystery, this is historical fiction at its best.” —Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

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