Friday, August 28, 2020

Review: The Woman Before Wallis by: Bryn Turnbull

Title: The Woman Before Wallis
Author: Bryn Turnbull
Publisher: Mira
Format: e-book (430 p.)
Source: NetGalley & Book Tour


For fans of The Paris Wife and The Crown, this stunning novel tells the true story of the American divorcĂ©e who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.

In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.

Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace in this sweeping story of love, loyalty and betrayal. 

My Thoughts: 

This book all began with a single request for a friend to watch the man she loves while she is gone.  What transpired it's what we know to become a huge story.  We meet Thelma Morgan and her twin sister Gloria Morgan the ups and downs these sisters suffer through is huge.  Gloria lands the dashing Reginald Vanderbilt and Thelma falls for Viscount Duke Furness.  

This book so rich in history and what women went through back then and how men behaved.  I found myself following along with Thelma as her story is shared and the ups and downs she went through with her sister to the death of her husband and the court case that shook the country.  

I loved it and think anyone wanting to learn more about Edward the King who abdicated his throne for love to Gloria's ups and downs in her life.  Definitely worth learning more about.  Can't wait to see what this writer comes up with next!
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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Review: Hideaway by: Nora Roberts

Title: Hideaway
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher; St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover ( 454 p.)
Source: Personal Purchase


A family ranch in Big Sur country and a legacy of Hollywood royalty set the stage for Nora Roberts’ emotional new suspense novel.

Caitlyn Sullivan, a daughter of Hollywood royalty, was already a star at ten, but still loved to play hide-and-seek with her cousins at the family home in Big Sur. It was during one of those games that she disappeared.

Despite her glamorous background, Cate was a shrewd, scrappy survivor, and she managed to escape her abductors. Dillon Cooper was shocked to find the bruised and terrified girl huddled in his ranch house kitchen—but when the teenager and his family heard her story they provided refuge and comfort, reuniting her with her loved ones.

Cate’s ordeal, though, was far from over. First came the discovery of a betrayal that would send someone she’d trusted to prison. Then there were years away in Ireland, sheltered and protected but with restlessness growing in her soul. Then, finally, she returned to Los Angeles, hoping to act again and get past the trauma that had derailed her life. What she didn’t yet know was that two seeds had been planted that long-ago night—one of a great love, and one of a terrible vengeance…

My Thoughts: 

 This book follows the Sullivan clan as they leave their mark on Hollywood. Caitlyn Sullivan finds herself in trouble early on. As a kidnapping on gone wrong. When she breaks free and gets help no one counts on her remembering so much about her kidnappers and the situation that led to her life being turned upside down.

Caitlyn's kidnappers and family member can't believe what they have had to go through and one is out for revenge.  Unfortunately Caitlyn doesn't make this easy at all.  She moves with her father to Ireland to recover from her kidnapping, then to Hollywood to see if she can't still act which she totally rocks at it.  Then she winds up in New York for a bit before going home to find her way and what she wants in life.

This book showed a young girl, a brave warrior child to a young adult taking her life back.  So much was going on that you find yourselves rooting for the Sullivan's that they can move forward from what happened so long ago.  Definitely a keeper of a book long after the story is told I don't think Caitlyn will leave my mind as a great book to have read by a fabulous author as always!
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Monday, August 24, 2020

Review: Lost Roses by: Martha Hall Kelly

Title: Lost Roses
Author: Martha Hall Kelly
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Series: Lilac Girls #2
Format: Hardcover (432 p.)
Source: Library


The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline's mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

It is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanov's. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia's Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller's daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya's letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian emigre's who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history. 

My Thoughts: 

The year is 1914 and Eliza is traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya a relative of the Romanov's.  When a war is declared Eliza manages to return to the states while Sofya and her family travel to their country estate.  This book really showed how war affected them and what they do and how they help out with certain parts of the war!

I really enjoyed this story and how suspenseful it was while still staying true to the story.  There was so much these women went through while trying to survive the war that was raging on.  Definitely a book to captivate you and you keep you throughly entertained!  Can't wait to read the other book in this series Lilac Girls!
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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Review: Girl With Three Eyes by: Priya Ardis

Girl With Three Eyes
Priya Ardis
Publication date: August 11th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
She would hate her third eye less if it actually gave her special powers. When her secret is threatened, she may be the only one who can save the kingdom.
Sixteen-year-old Kira puts on a show about having empathic abilities, but she miraculously wakes a highborn boy from a coma after a near-fatal accident on mountainous slopes. When his father threatens to expose her “magic” to the queen unless she attends the kingdom’s most elite academy as a bodyguard.
Soon, she’s immersed in a strange new life—one of being a simple student trying out for the school’s skyboarding team. Her fake life becomes the life she’s always wanted, but Kira cannot escape who she truly is. And as a sinister foe lurks closer than she suspects…
Will she risk her freedom to develop the vision to unmask a killer before the crown falls?
Girl with Three Eyes is a young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female protagonists, futuristic fairy tales, and epic tournaments, then you’ll love Priya Ardis’s heart-racing adventure.

My Review:

Kira lives a not easy life with her alcoholic father and hides things from him to keep him from selling it for alcohol.  She also has to hide her third eye lest she get treated like a complete freak.  When she awakens a highborn son from a coma she finds herself being forced to be a bodyguard and sent to the Raj Academy.  Will she ever be free from doing what others want of her?  Or will she always be forced to do things, because of her third eye?

This was a cute story with characters that pull you in wanting to learn more especially Kira.  As we read we learn more about her third eye and her power with it.  The writing is really fast moving and keeps you captive and definitely a great sci-fi/fantasy genre.  The twists the story takes are so worth the ride you go on can't wait to see what is next for Kira and her friends and family!

Author Bio:
Priya Ardis writes Blood&Treasure fantasy romances which include coming of age, bad boys, globe-trotting, and a spoonful of sassy banter.
She loves books of all kinds–but especially the ones that ensnare you and let your chai go cold. Her novels come from a childhood of playing too much She-Ra and watching too much Spock. She started her first book at sixteen, writing in notebooks on long train rides during a hot summer vacation. Her favorite Arthurian is the Lady of Shalott by Lord Tennyson.
What does she like to read? Books with fantasy and magic with a cool heroine that’s really just the girl/boy next door. Books with all the feels. And, hello, Mr. Darcy anyone?

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review: Heart Sister by: Michael F. Stewart

Heart Sister
Michael F. Stewart
Publication date: September 15th 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
After his twin sister, Minnie, dies in an accident, Emmitt’s world goes sideways. He’s lost his best friend and it feels like the family is falling apart without her. But Minnie was an organ donor and Emmitt soon receives an anonymous thank you letter from one of the transplant recipients. Inspiration strikes, and he decides to try and put his sister back together, in spirit. He’s going to track down each organ recipient and film them to show his parents the results of Minnie’s selfless act and help them move on. But when each recipient falls short of his expectations and the star of his film, the girl who received his sister’s heart, refuses to meet him, Emmitt has to turn to extreme measures to find her. What he doesn’t know is that his “heart sister” is hiding an agonizing secret, one that could push Emmitt to the breaking point.

Author Bio:
Michael F. Stewart is an award-winning author of many books for young people in various genres, including Ray Vs. the Meaning of Life, which earned a Kirkus Star and won the Publishers Weekly’s Booklife Grand Prize. and Heart Sister (Summer/Fall 2020, Orca Books). Michael lives in Ottawa.


This book follows Emmit who has had his world fall apart with the death of his twin sister.  He feels like everything is falling apart but is it really?  When he receives a thank you letter from one of the donors he tries to see who has all his sister's organs what a journey Emmit goes on.

This book pulled at you and brought you into Emmit's world and what he is going through and what love can make you do when you want the people to be worthy of the gift of Minnie.  Of course what can happen with some gifts is they don't live up to the expectations that are set up.  Is the book was so good and moved you to tears at times and had me on the edge of my seat to see how it played out!  Definitely a fabulous developed characters and real issues that you couldn't imagine being in his place to come up with the story he created here!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Review: Lost by: James Patterson

Title: Lost
Author: James Patterson & James O. Born
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Format: Hardcover (352 p.)
Source: Personal Purchase


Detective Tom Moon and his multi-talented team face off against an international crime ring looking to seize control of America's most vibrant city, Miami.

The city of Miami is Detective Tom Moon's back yard. He's always kept it local, attending University of Miami on a football scholarship, and, as a Miami PD officer, protecting the city's most vulnerable.

Now, as the new leader of an FBI task force called "Operation Guardian," it's his mission to combat international crime. Moon's investigative team discovers that the opportunistic "Blood Brothers" -- Russian nationals Roman and Emile Rostoff -- have evaded authorities while building a vast, powerful, and deadly crime syndicate throughout Europe and metropolitan Miami.

Moon played offense for U of M, but he's on the other side of the field this time. And as the Rostoffs zero in on a target dear to Tom, they're not playing by anyone's rules. 

My Thoughts: 

Detective Moon has his work cut out for him as he finds himself with a bunch of kids and having to break up human trafficking.  This brings him from Miami, Florida to Amsterdam.  He's determined to bring down the Blood Brothers Roman and Emile Rostoff who are known for doing all sorts of really bad things.

I love this book it was fast moving and you learn about the main character besides just his work life.  It was such a fabulous thrill ride to go on.  Definitely hang on to your hats you never know where Patterson will take you!
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Monday, August 10, 2020

Review: Hickville Confidential by: Mary Karlik

Title: Hickville Confidential
Author: Mary Karlik
Publication: GBK Publications
Series: Hickville High # 2.5
Format: Kindle e-book (203 p.)


Three weeks after her longtime boyfriend dumps her, high school senior and queen bee Penny Wilson declares she is over him and finished with dating. But life without her ex is more difficult than simply repeating a few affirmations.

A queen bee needs a king, or she wobbles dangerously close to the edge of the popularity ladder.

To make matters worse, her dad announces he’s hired Wrangler-wearing calf roper Ty Jackson to work on their English horse farm. Never mind his curly blond hair and six-pack abs—he’s a rodeo team bottom-runger and no way is Penny going to admit she knows him, let alone allow him into her social circle.

Ty convinces her he can teach her to connect more deeply with her horse and settle her nerves in the show arena. But as they work together, Penny discovers that while she might be riding better, being around Ty does nothing to settle her nerves. Will a hush-hush relationship with Ty make matters worse with her dad? And what if her friends at school discover Ty is more than just a farm hand?

Because between her show ambitions and her social status, she’s walking a fine line—and the price is everything that matters to her most.

My Thoughts: 

Penny Wilson is having a bad time of it lately.  Her boyfriend has dumped her and she has decided to swear of men.  To make matters worse her father has hired Ty Jackson to work with Penny on her riding of her horse.  Penny is a competition rider but hasn't been able to snag a blue ribbon yet.  She seems stuck in a rut with her horse riding as well as her love life.

Ty Jackson comes along and helps her in ways she couldn't count on.  They rehash their relationship and deal with things never said years ago.  Ty tells her he's always been there but she has changed and to him it's all or nothing.  

Penny has alot to overcome in her situation.  She needs to decide if she wants to be one of the cool kids or be friends with all sorts of people.  This book also dealt with aftermath of Pennys mom's death and what her death did to them!  Definitely a beautifully told story which I felt pulled you in until you turned the last page!
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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Review: Hickville Redemption by: Mary Karlik

Title: Hickville Redemption
Author: Mary Karlik
Publisher: GPK Publications
Series: Hickville High #3
Format: Kindle e-book (256 p.)
Source: Personal Purchase


A 30 year old mystery…
A 15 year old sleuth.

Freshman Mackenzie Quinn wants nothing to do with the mysterious death of Cassidy Jones. But when her crush, Braden McGuire, declares he’s determined to uncover the truth, she is drawn into the cold case. The problem is her dad is the number one suspect. Things look pretty hopeless until her best friend, Travis Barns, loans her the secret diary of Cassidy Jones. His only stipulation is that she not share it with anybody else. But when her jealous boyfriend finds and exposes the diary, secrets come to life that could ruin MacKenzie’s whole family.
Can she find a way to clear her father’s name and atone for her own mistakes before it’s too late

My Thoughts: 

This book follows the youngest Quinn girl Mackenzie who is being pushed by the guy she's dating about what happened to the young Cassidy Jones who died more than 30 years ago.  Only a few people know what really happened and they aren't talking including MacKenzie's father.  Did he have something to do with it?

Travis Barns wants nothing more than to be the man in Mackenzie's life but he decides not to tell her how he feels instead he gives her Cassidy's diary in the hopes that Mackenzie will learn about the girl behind the mystery.  Will it explain what happened to Cassidy?

Of course Mackenzie's boyfriend Braden McGuire is determined to make his mark on the media world by breaking the case wide open regardless of who it hurts.  Having no sense of privacy or slander he goes full steam to push the issue of who killed Cassidy.  Mackenzie doesn't want this she just wants to learn more about her.

This book was fabulous a mystery inside a teen romance it pulled you in wanting to know what happened to Cassidy and how Mackenzie will fair in the new town, especially with romance on the horizon!

I love taking a step back and going to Hickville High to see what everyone is up to!  We get to check in with other characters as well as walk in Mackenzie's world to see what she is up to.  It was totally worth it.  The story telling is superb.
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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Review: Hickville Crossroads by: Mary Karlik

Title: Hickville Crossroads
Author: Mary Karlik
Publisher; GPK Publications
Series: Hickville High #4
Format: e-book ARC (191 p.)
Source: Xpresso Tours


Frasier Anderson is one of the hottest teenage actors in the UK, but he’s virtually unknown in the US. Now he’s landed the leading role in a big-budget Hollywood film that could make him an international star. 

So how do you prepare a Scot for a role as a Texas high school student? Give him a fake name, a fake accent, and embed him in a Texas high school. He only has to follow three rules:

No drama. No girls. And no telling who he really is.

Jenna Wiley is smart, funny, and has a few no-drama, no-dating rules of her own. Her friendship with new kid Ethan Smith is perfect and might even lead to something more. Except for a few things that don’t add up. Like his mom being afraid to have company. Or their house, which is more staged than lived in. Or his sister, whom nobody talks about.

It all comes to a boil when Frasier’s biggest secrets hit the tabloids and the paparazzi swarm Hillside with Jenna in their sights.

Can Frasier convince Jenna that shy, goofy Ethan Smith is closer to real than the image the tabloids have created?

And can she ever forgive him for breaking the most important rule of all? Because for Jenna, when it comes to love and science, the truth is all that matters.

My Thoughts: 

This book brings us back Hickville High where Frasier a hot young actor in England has come to Hillside Texas with an ulterior motive researching a part for an upcoming movie.  What he didn't count on was Jenna Wiley.   

This book is a fun read where we go back to Hillside and are treated to another young adult story with issues just about anyone could deal with.  It was also nice to see references to past characters in the book as well as watch Ethan/Frasier manuever around Hickville while keeping a secret about why he's really there.

Going back to Hillside is like visiting old friends and seeing what they are up to now and how they are dealing with things and how they will over come what is being thrown at them!  I thoroughly enjoy each time I get to go back and read about them time and again!
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