Saturday, 22 July 2017

#bookreview ~ The King's Daughter #historicalfantasy @WriterChurchill

The King’s Daughter

Stephanie Churchill


In this gripping sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, a young woman finds herself unwittingly caught up in a maelstrom of power, intrigue, and shifting perceptions, where the line between ally and enemy is subtle, and the fragile facade of reality is easily broken.

Irisa's parents are dead and her younger sister Kassia is away on a journey when the sisters’ mysterious customer returns, urging Irisa to leave with him before disaster strikes. Can she trust him to keep her safe? How much does he know about the fate of her father? Only a voyage across the Eastmor Ocean to the land of her ancestors will reveal the truth about her family’s disturbing past. Once there, Irisa steps into a future she has unknowingly been prepared for since childhood, but what she discovers is far more sinister than she could have ever imagined. Will she have the courage to claim her inheritance for her own?

What did I think of the book?

What if everything you thought you knew was a lie…

Irisa is a nobody. She is a poverty stricken young woman like the rest of the people in her neighbourhood. Irisa and her sister are only one breath away from being evicted, but thankfully Kassia has been hired for a job, so perhaps this month they will be able to make the rent.

But the life the sisters have known is about to come to a sudden and abrupt end.

Unbeknown to Irisa, her deceased parents have a past — a past that could cost the lives of both Irisa and her sister. Irisa has many questions, but the cost of discovering who they really are will come at a terrible price.

I was so looking forward to reading the sequel to The Scribe's Daughter, and I am pleased to say Stephanie Churchill did not disappoint.

The King's Daughter is a heartbreakingly emotional journey of discovery. In The Scribes Daughter, Irisa was portrayed as the delicate sister, the one that needed looking after by her sister, but Irisa has an inner strength and a quick wit. She is as much a survivor as Kassia is.

The story itself was incredibly fast-paced with many unexpected twist and turns that kept me turning those pages with anticipation.  The world Ms Churchill has created is so vivid in the telling that it is very easy to visualise, and her characterisation of both the protagonists and the antagonists were so well drawn that they practically breathed life.

The King's Daughter captivated me from beginning to end, and it is a story that I am sure I will come back to again. If ever there was a sit-down-and-finish book, then this is it. Kudos Ms Churchill. But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

I Highly Recommend.

*I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the author for review consideration.*

Available for pre-order
Release 1st September 2017 

About the author

I used to live my life as an unsuspecting part of the reading public. Spending my days in a Georgetown law firm just outside downtown Washington, D.C., by all outward appearances I was a paralegal working in international trade and then antitrust law. I liked books, and I read them often, but that's all I was: a reader of books.

When my husband and I got married, I moved to the Minneapolis metro area and found work as a corporate paralegal, specializing in corporate formation, mergers & acquisitions, and corporate finance. Again, by all outward appearances, I was a paralegal and a reader of books.

And then one day, while on my lunch break, I visited the neighboring Barnes & Noble and happened upon a book by author Sharon Kay Penman, and while I'd never heard of her before, I took a chance and bought the book. That day I became a reader of historical fiction.

Fast forward a dozen years or so, and I had become a rabid fan of Sharon Kay Penman's books as well as historical fiction in general. Because of a casual comment she'd made on social media, I wrote Ms. Penman a ridiculously long review of her latest book, Lionheart. As a result of that review, she asked me what would become the most life-changing question: "Have you ever thought about writing?" And The Scribe's Daughter was born.

When I'm not writing or taxiing my two children to school or other activities, I'm likely walking Cozmo, our dog or reading another book to review.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ Everything We Left Behind #EverythingWeLeftBehind @kerrylonsdale

Everything We Left Behind: A Novel


Kerry Lonsdale

wo months before his wedding, financial executive James Donato chased his trade-laundering brother Phil to Mexico, only to be lost at sea and presumed dead. Six and a half years later, he emerges from a dissociative fugue state to find he’s been living in Oaxaca as artist Carlos Dominguez, widower and father of two sons, with his sister-in-law Natalya Hayes, a retired professional surfer, helping to keep his life afloat. But his fiancée, Aimee Tierney, the love of his life, has moved on. She’s married and has a child of her own.

Devastated, James and his sons return to California. But Phil is scheduled for release from prison, and he’s determined to find James, who witnessed something in Mexico that could land Phil back in confinement. Under mounting family pressure, James flees with his sons to Kauai, seeking refuge with Natalya. As James begins to unravel the mystery of his fractured identity, danger is never far behind, and Natalya may be the only person he can trust.

What did I think of the Book?

Sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow…

The last thing James can remember is falling from a boat and trying to swim to shore. But when he opened his eyes, one morning, he finds himself in a bed he doesn't know, with two sons he can't remember. To his horror, James discovers that he has lost six years of his life. He has lost his fiancé, his identity, and has been betrayed by those closest to him. He had suffered from what the Doctors called ‘Dissociative Fugue.’ There is nothing left for James to do, but to try and piece back together his broken life. In doing so, maybe he will discover who he truly is.

Having just read Everything We Keep, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. Lucky for me, I received an ARC of Kerry Lonsdale's latest release, so I didn't have to wait at all!

I was so looking forward to reading the story from James’ perspective, and I am glad to say this book did not disappoint. I thought Ms Lonsdale was very compassionate in her portray of James, and she nailed the emotional trauma that he goes through. This is, without a doubt, a heartbreakingly beautiful story.

I really took to James in Book 1, but by the end of book 2, I adore him. His determination to keep his family together — despite not remembering them — brought tears to my eyes. His confusion, his sense of betrayal, and his grief was very real in the telling. However, this is not a melancholy read. There are moments of humour, passion and love, as well as discovery. There are enough plot twists to keep you guessing and a cast of characters that are sublime in the telling.

I cannot praise this series enough. This book is certainly in my top ten — if not my top five — books I have read and reviewed this year.

I Highly Recommend.

 *I received a copy of this book from the Publishers, via NetGalley, for review consideration.*
Links for Purchase

About the author

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of three novels, including EVERYTHING WE KEEP. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children.

Useful Links

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ Everything We Keep #EverythingWeKeep @kerrylonsdale

Everything We Keep : A Novel


Kerry Lonsdale

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

What did I think of the Book?

Love after death...?

It was supposed to be the best day of Aimee Tierney life, for she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James Donato. But instead of a wedding, she is standing in the aisle and watching as James' coffin is carried to the front of the church. The life she and James had planned to have together, is now nothing but a distant memory. Aimee now must find the strength to come to terms with his death. Yet, however hard Aimee tries to get on with her life, there is that nagging doubt that maybe it wasn't James in the coffin.

Everything We Keep: A Novel, captivated me from the very first page and held my attention until the last. I was drawn into the heart-wrenching story of Aimee as she battled to come to terms with the loss of the man she loved.
Kerry Lonsdale has created an incredible cast of characters that drove this story forward. I though her portrayal of Aimee was very real in the telling. Aimee's emotional turmoil at the loss of the man she loved, the guilt that comes later when she feels herself falling for another man, and the utter despair she feels when she discovers a terrible truth, gave Aimee's character incredibly depth. 

I adored the backstory to this novel, it made Aimee and James' relationship all the more believable and really brought home to me just how much Aimee had lost with James' death.

The plot itself is very fast and there are a few curve balls that take the plot into different directions, which kept me turning those pages. Kudos Ms Lonsdale.

Everything We Keep is beautiful story with a compelling plot that I simply could not put down. This is the kind of book that deserves to be read.

I Highly Recommend

*I received a copy of this book from the Publishers, via NetGalley, for review consideration.*

Links for Purchase

About the author

Kerry Lonsdale is the Wall Street Journal and #1 Amazon Kindle bestselling author of three novels, including EVERYTHING WE KEEP. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is a founder of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She resides in Northern California with her husband and two children.

Useful Links

Monday, 3 July 2017

#Bookreview ~ The Indigo Rebels #HistFic #WW2 @EllieMidwood

The Indigo Rebels


Ellie Midwood

 France, 1940

The German army has marched into Paris. Three siblings, three very different people leading very different lives, find themselves face to face with new occupants of their city, and none of them can guess what the occupation has in store for them, and how it will change their lives once and for all.

Giselle Legrand, a renowned novelist and a socialite, encounters an unannounced guest in her apartment – a newly arrived chief of the Gestapo, Sturmbannführer Dr. Karl Wünsche, who is intended to billet there and who soon starts making rather unwelcome changes in Giselle’s lifestyle. Strong-willed and defiant, Giselle gets involved with one of the first Resistance cells, refusing to submit to the newly established authority despite the developing relationship between the two.

Kamille Blanchard, a new widow of the war left alone with a small daughter, is dreading the approaching army. However, she never expected that she could find love in the arms of an officer, who appears at her door as soon as the German army marches in. But will Kamille be able to trust a former enemy when he has to choose between his feelings and the duty for his country?

Marcel Legrand, a former history student and a deserter, fearing the capture by the Germans has no other choice than ask for the help from the ones he used to fear and avoid – the mysterious communists, who call for an uprising and freeing their country from the Nazi plague.
 Soon, the fates of all three siblings will become intertwined in a dangerous knot, all of them, fighting for the same goal: a liberated France.

What did I think of the Book?

In times of War and Peace.

France is under occupation. Giselle Legrand has to share her house with the Chief of the Gestapo. At first, Dr Karl Wünsche intrigues her, but soon her eyes are opened and she sees the ruthless monster that he truly is. Appalled by his behaviour towards her fellow countryman, Giselle joins the Resistance. She is determined to do her part to rid her country of these Foreign invaders.

I am a big fan of Ellie Midwood's work, and I was looking forward to her latest book. The Indigo Rebels didn't disappoint. It was exactly the kind of story I expect from Ms Midwood.

Filled with historical detail and with a compelling plot, The Indigo Rebels was a real page-turner. I simply could not put it down.

I adored the characterisation of Giselle. Giselle is a feisty, independent woman who, despite appearances, is determined to do something to free France. She is subjected to scorn from her fellow countryman who believes that she has sold her soul to the enemy, little do they know where her loyalties really lie.

I also loved the characterisation of Kamille. The complete opposite of her sister, Kamille, never expected to find love in the arms of the enemy, but Jochen is like no man she has ever met and her young daughter adores him. I thought it was a wonderful contrast between Giselle's relationship with the feared Chief of the Gestapo, Karl. Jochen is loving and kind. He is as appalled as Kamille to the German atrocities that he is witnessing.

I really enjoyed this book and I think it will be one that I come back to again and again.
If you are looking for quality historical fiction set in World War One, then you cannot go far wrong with The Indigo Rebels.

I Highly Recommend.

Links for Purchase

About the author

Ellie Midwood is an award-winning, best-selling historical fiction writer. She's a health obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

#BookReview — The Potential For Love by Catherine Kullmann #RegencyRomance

The Potential For Love By Catherine Kullmann When Arabella Malvin sees the figure of an officer silhouetted against the sun, for ...