Thursday, February 22, 2018

Marrying Mr. Valentine: Release day fun from Laura Barnard!

RELEASE DAY & GIVEAWAY!  Marrying Mr Valentine is LIVE!


Amazon Bestselling author Laura Barnard brings you the follow on book from Adventurous Proposal, second standalone in the One Month Til I Do series.

Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/2CKUcW

Amazon US - http://amzn.to/2CBIFFz



Synopsis

Nadine Roberts smiles for everyone, but beneath it she hides a heartbreaking past that only a few know about. Throwing herself into her new career; wedding planner at The Duck & Goose, a property recently purchased by newlyweds Florence and Hugh, has helped distract her from her loneliness.

When a teary bride suddenly cancels her upcoming wedding Nadine looks to the two year waiting list. Clara Blumenkrantz and Hartley Valentine. It’ll have to be a quick turnaround, but what’s the worst that can happen, right?


This should be like every other wedding she plans, but the magnetism she feels towards Mr Valentine disrupts the orderly life she’s worked hard to carve out. 


Can she ignore her intense desires and be a professional? Or will she open up her heart to the one person that has the power to break it? And in doing so endanger not just her job, but her venue’s reputation?



My Thoughts:


     If you are looking for a fast paced, fun romance to read I think you might enjoy Marrying Mr. Valentine.  Nadine has suffered through some tough things but she is tough and has a good sense of humor.  Can she deal with feelings for her latest client though?
     At times things were a tad cheesy and predictable but I still enjoyed this story and read it in two days!  Nadine is tough, sassy and has a hilarious group of friends.  She has some zany clients that keep her on her toes and a personal life that is stressful and lonely.  She's relatable and her story is touching. 


Amazon UK - http://amzn.to/2CKUcW
Amazon US - http://amzn.to/2CBIFFz



With reviews like this what are you waiting for?
'Another great read from Laura full of her usual quick wit and slapstick shenanigans.'

You don't need to have read book one, but if you'd rather read in order you can download Adventurous Proposal:
Amazon Affiliate UK - http://amzn.to/2qxKSAk
Amazon affiliate US - http://amzn.to/2D5IhQK


Giveaway

Head on over to Laura's Facebook page (details below) to enter her release day giveaway to be in with a chance of winning a £10 Amazon Gift Card!

Stalk Laura


Thursday, February 15, 2018

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell


Summary:


     Daniel Sullivan, a young American professor reeling from a failed marriage and a brutal custody battle, is on holiday in Ireland when he falls in love with Claudette, a world-famous sexual icon and actress who fled fame for a reclusive life in a rural village. Together, they make an idyllic life in the country, raising two more children in blissful seclusion—until a secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their meticulously constructed and fiercely protected home. What follows is a journey through Daniel’s many lives told in his voice and the voices of those who have made him the man he is: the American son and daughter he has not seen for many years; the family he has made with Claudette; and irrepressible, irreverent Claudette herself. Shot through with humor and wisdom, This Must Be the Place is a powerful rumination on the nature of identity, and the complexities of loyalty and devotion—a gripping story of an extraordinary family and an extraordinary love. 





My Thoughts:


     This is a book that is more than just a story of romantic love but also family love. sometimes parental love is gone but someone steps in and they become that parental love you need.  also, forgiveness and understanding.  realizing not everyone is perfect and you can't put past hurts on someone else.

     This story was funny at times but also touching, and beautifully written. I think everyone can identify with at least one character and/or their situation.  There are some great characters although Claudette, one of the main characters, wasn't very likable to me as she seemed rather selfish.  I think that the children and their stories were my favorites in this book.    

     Each chapter jumped narrator and timelines which is fine, if done right. Most of time it was fine and ran smoothly for me but occasionally a narrator would pop up and I would have to stop and try to remember who they were because previously they had been a very minor character. Every one of them had a purpose but it took the whole chapter to see why.  Again, each seemed to me to demonstrate a different kind of love/family and also heartbreak. 4/5 stars



Favorite quotes:


"He decided there and then that his life needed footnotes..."

"What redemption there is in being loved: we are always our best selves when loved by another."




Author's site:  http://www.maggieofarrell.com/




Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Undertaker's Daughter by Sara Blaedel


Summary:


Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago–has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things–hoping for some insight into his new life in America–before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head . .
 






My Thoughts:


     I never used to be one to abandon books.  I would always finish a book I was reading no matter how much I did not care for the story or characters.  Apparently, I have learned my lesson because this is my second DNF (Did Not Finish) this year.  I made myself read to about the halfway point just to make sure but, this one is definitely not for me.  There are too many books sitting around my house that I just don't want to waste my time anymore on something I am not enjoying.
     This book is billed as the first in a mystery/thriller series but almost everything is dealing with Ilka and her personal issues.  This is fine but not exactly what I signed up for and I really didn't find any of the characters likable.  The conversations were stilted and slightly unbelievable so it was just rather hard to get invested in any aspect of the story. 

On to the next...

Do you have to finish a book or is it easy for you to put something down?  Comment and let me know!
     


Monday, February 5, 2018

The Bookworm by Mitch Silver


Summary:


Why did Hitler chose not to invade England when he had the chance?

Europe, 1940: It’s late summer and Belgium has been overrun by the German army. Posing as a friar, a British operative talks his way into the monastery at Villers-devant-Orval just before Nazi art thieves plan to sweep through the area and whisk everything of value back to Berlin. But the ersatz man of the cloth is no thief. Instead, that night he adds an old leather Bible to the monastery’s library and then escapes.

London, 2017: A construction worker operating a backhoe makes a grisly discovery—a skeletal arm-bone with a rusty handcuff attached to the wrist. Was this the site, as a BBC newsreader speculates, of “a long-forgotten prison, uncharted on any map?” One viewer knows better: it’s all that remains of a courier who died in a V-2 rocket attack. The woman who will put these two disparate events together—and understand the looming tragedy she must hurry to prevent—is Russian historian and former Soviet chess champion Larissa Mendelovg Klimt, “Lara the Bookworm,” to her friends. She’s also experiencing some woeful marital troubles.

In the course of this riveting thriller, Lara will learn the significance of six musty Dictaphone cylinders recorded after D-Day by Noel Coward—actor, playwright and, secretly, a British agent reporting directly to Winston Churchill.



source

My Thoughts:


     This is a great story filled with current politics, history and expertly woven conspiracy theories.  I am the first to admit that I hate politics but I do enjoy history so as one comes with the other, I will deal with politics to learn more about history. 
     At times, I was lost with all the political scheming, but Mr. Silver did a pretty good job of explaining things within the story without inserting school-type lectures into it.  I did find myself skimming a bit just to get to the action though. Without a spoiling anything I will say that the ending was a good wrap up but a few bits were not necessary. 
     Some of the political figures are not-so-vaguely based on real life people and while I get it for the purpose of the story, it was slightly annoying.  I liked the main character of Lara and her brother, Lev.  Both were good people you could root for and who doesn't want The Bookworm to come out on top AND save the world? :)  3/5 stars

Author's site: http://www.mitchsilverbooks.com/


    

Friday, February 2, 2018

January 2018 Reads




     January is over....and I am kind of glad! Wow what a month of madness and cold.  It was my birthday month (I had a very nice bday) but I am still glad it is behind us.
     I got six books read, which is good, but I got behind for things here and should feel bad but don't.  I enjoy doing these book reviews but have told myself from day one that if it starts being stressful and not fun, I was out.  So I try not to feel bad when I am running a few days behind because it is just not worth it.  Also, I've been a bit "twitchy" lately and haven't been able to concentrate for very long. I hope that improves soon!?

     Here's hoping for a great (and warmer) February!

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin: my review is here

One Plus One by JoJo Moyes: not my fave by JoJo but still an enjoyable read

The Matter of the Crown by Linda Ferreri: DNF

Emma by Jane Austen: for my reading challenge this month to Read a Classic-definitely another great one from J.A.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland: see my thoughts here

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah: full thoughts are here

What did you read and love in January? Comment below!



*Coming in February:




Monday, January 29, 2018

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


Summary:


Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love. Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.  At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America.



My Thoughts:

     I would first like to admit that this is only my second time reading Kristin Hannah. My first was, of course, the amazing hit of a couple of years ago, The Nightingale.  I was completely surprised and thrilled to get the opportunity to read her latest in advance.
     I had no idea what the book was about going in but I still would have bee excited to read had I known they synopsis.  That being said, this book is so beautiful! There is struggle, love, friendships and redemption.  Ms. Hannah seems to be able to write about anything and make it meaningful to you no matter the subject.
  The characters were people you could really care about and feel sympathy for even when you really don't like them. And the setting of Alaska was a whole character in and of itself.  There are some scenes of domestic violence that may bother some but this is really a story of strength and love.  Have tissues near by! 4.5/5 stars

P.S. Be sure the read the author's acknowledgments at the end to see the personal connection to Alaska-makes the story even better.


Favorite quotes:

"You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska-the odds are good , but the goods are odd."

"The world could tumble, change radically in two days, with just one less person in it."

"Everyone up here had two stories: the life before and the life now.  If you wanted to pray to a weirdo god or live in a school bus or marry a goose, no one in Alaska was going to say crap to you."

"Families and futures are fragile."

 

 

 

Author's site: https://kristinhannah.com/

 




Monday, January 22, 2018

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland


Summary:


In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?





My Thoughts:


     I can't quite decide how to tell you how I feel about this one.  On one hand, there were moments where I was frowning saying "How can she not see this?" and "Why is she still shocked by this?".  But....one hand #2, I kept reading and I could barely make myself put this one down so I could do life things!?  
     Maybe I just love me some spy thrillers or maybe I just liked Vivian or maybe I just wondered, what would I do in this situation? Who knows! I can tell you this is definitely a page turner full of deceit and doubts. Although it didn't quite end like I thought it would, it did surprise me and that is always good.  I am really hoping there will be another book.  
4/5 stars

Author's site: http://karen-cleveland.com/