Thursday, April 27, 2017

Julie's Review: Beneath the Scarlet Sky

Author: Mark T. Sullivan
Series: None
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union
Pages: 524
Obtained: Little Bird Publicity
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Biography
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: A stunning novel about love, loss and living. A must read!
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Summary: Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share. Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.  

Review: I really feel that  Beneath a Scarlet Sky should come with a warning regarding how you will have a serious book hangover when you finish this one. Pino Lella is a typical 17 year old hanging with his friends, trying to find love when things start to take a turn for the worse in the war and Milan gets sucked right into it. In order to keep his family safe, Pino's father sends him to the Italian Alps to help serve with Father Re and to keep him out of harms way.

It is here that he finds his purpose by hiking the mountains and gaining strength. It is here that he helps the Catholic church get Italian Jews out of harms way and into Switzerland. Pino has a way with helping people and keeping them calm even in the scariest moments. It wasn't always the Nazis that you had to worry about but the weather in the mountains. So when he is sent back to Milan he isn't very happy about it. Even more so after he finds out that his Uncle and Father want him to enlist so that he's not drafted. If he enlists, they can help him get a better job. It still doesn't keep him out of harms way and after he's injured in a bombing, he is inadvertently made the driver for General Leyers, who sits on Hitler's counsel. By being his driver this gives Pino the opportunity to be a spy and gain the Allies some advantages. Things never go as planned and Pino often wrestles with what he is doing and how he is helping.

What I absolutely loved about the book was that you felt like you were living Pino's experiences with him. You felt what he felt. You felt the shame and pride. You felt how young and innocent he was when he first went to Father Re and how at the end of the war he had seen things he would never forget. Some things he would spend the rest of his life trying to forget and running away from. You felt the terror of the war and at the same the bliss of first love between Anna and Pino. It is this love that gives him hope in times of despair.

In the end, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, is a gorgeous and heart-wretching story about being brave in the face of evil. It's about finding happiness when you think it's been taken from you and remembering that each day is a gift. Pino Lella is an ordinary person, who did extraordinary things when it counted the most and cost him as well. I don't always read the author notes at the end of a novel, but I felt compelled to because of the preface. In some ways I believe Pino's story saved Mark Sullivan's life.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Julie's Review: Slightly South of Simple

Author: Kristy Woodson Harvey
Series: Peachtree Bluff #1
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 400
Obtained: Author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction,Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Sometimes it is important to go home and remember who you were and who you were meant to be
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Summary: Caroline Murphy swore she’d never set foot back in the small Southern town of Peachtree Bluff; she was a New York girl born and bred and the worst day of her life was when, in the wake of her father’s death, her mother selfishly forced her to move—during her senior year of high school, no less—back to that hick-infested rat trap where she'd spent her childhood summers. But now that her marriage to a New York high society heir has fallen apart in a very public, very embarrassing fashion, a pregnant Caroline decides to escape the gossipmongers with her nine-year-old daughter and head home to her mother, Ansley. Ansley has always put her three daughters first, especially when she found out that her late husband, despite what he had always promised, left her with next to nothing. Now the proud owner of a charming waterfront design business and finally standing on her own two feet, Ansley welcomes Caroline and her brood back with open arms. But when her second daughter Sloane, whose military husband is overseas, and youngest daughter and successful actress Emerson join the fray, Ansley begins to feel like the piece of herself she had finally found might be slipping from her grasp. Even more discomfiting, when someone from her past reappears in Ansley's life, the secret she’s harbored from her daughters their entire lives might finally be forced into the open. Exploring the powerful bonds between sisters and mothers and daughters, this engaging novel is filled with Southern charm, emotional drama, and plenty of heart.  

Review: For those of you looking for a book about family and relationships, then look no further than Slightly South of Simple. Caroline Murphy comes from a strong family of women but she might be the strongest of all of them based on her sheer will to keep it together during a very humiliating separating from her husband. You see, he decided to go on a reality tv show dating a model while he was still married to her. She can't stand the embarrassment so she packs up her daughter and goes back home. Except Caroline thinks Peachtree Bluff is the worst place on earth.

Ainsley finds comfort in Peachtree Bluff. It is the place where she came to when she lost her husband and had to finish raising her girls. It is the place where she has rebuilt her life. She has a successful decorating business and loves all the local characters. Ainsley has her own secrets that she has hidden from her girls. As her secrets are revealed, I didn't feel that she was holding back because of the secrets but because she doesn't want their memories of their father to be tainted. She's a wonderful matriarch to the family and knows how to deal with each of her girls in their own way.

While the novel is told from Ainsley and Caroline's points of views, we get to know the other 2 Murphy girls, Emerson and Sloane through their eyes. I'm hoping that in the next books we get to know Emerson and Sloane a bit more through their own stories.

While at times I found Caroline annoying and righteous at times, I did feel that her instructions to her sisters and mother came from a place of love. I did feel that her coming back helped ground her in the real world a bit more than her high society lifestyle in New York. Her sisters help bring her down to earth as well.

There are some strings that were left untied with Slightly South of Simple, so I am very much looking forward to the second book in the series.


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Monday, April 17, 2017

Julie's Review: The Women in the Castle

Author: Jessica Shattuck
Series: None
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Obtained: TLC Book Tours
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A perspective that isn't often told in WW II novels
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Summary: Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding.  Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows. First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war. As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Review: Women in the Castle is the story of regret, guilt and most of all forgiveness. It's about learning from the past but also learning to move on from the past. The novel revolves around 3 women who have had very different experiences during the war. Marianne is the stoic one who believes that as a widow of a man in the resistance it is her duty and privileged to track down those women who also had husband's died for the cause. So she travels around trying to find them to bring them back to Burg Lingenfels to recover and figure out where to go next. Her first mission is to track down the wife of her dear childhood friend Connie and their son. Marianne also fashions herself a bit righteous because her husband was part of the resistance and because she never fell for Hitler's rhetoric. She's also clearly the mama bear of the group and no-nonsense.

Benita, sweet and naive, but so angry and lost. She was a young bride who married what she thought was a wealthy man only to have a war disrupt their marriage. He also never clued her in on the plans and so she felt like she was left in the wind. Her anger eats at her for years but the shining light in her life is her young son Martin.

Then you have Ania, she's the one who is the most reserved and the most quiet. She's the one who knows how to cook and she's practical. She keeps a watchful eye over her boys. She and Marianne have the closest bond of all the women. She also has the most interesting back story and perhaps the most surprising of the 3 women.

This is a perspective of World War II and the aftermath that isn't told much through historical fiction but it is important. For those of us who ask, how could the German people follow Hitler and his atrocities? I think it's important to recognize that in most cases they didn't have a choice or more importantly felt that there were no options. It's also important to realize that we are looking at their lives through 20/20 hindsight and while we can pass judgment we truly don't know what it was like to walk in their shoes.

At times, I felt that the story was slow and drawn out but I enjoyed how Ms. Shattuck wrapped up the story. These women aren't particularly likable but I kind of think that's the point in some way. People's experiences shape who they are and how they look at the world for good and bad.

Women in the Castle showcases that it really does take a village to raise kids and sometimes just to survive. It teaches us the importance of learning from the past but living for the present.


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Julie's Review: Gone Without a Trace

Author: Mary Torjussen
Series: None
Publication Date: April 17, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 352
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Mind=BLOWN
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Summary: A jaw-dropping novel of psychological suspense that asks, If the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why? Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It's as though their last four years together never happened. As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth...  

Review: Gone Without a Trace has left my mind blown. I finished it a couple hours ago and it's still rattling around in my head. I just didn't really see that coming at all. Hannah is happy; she's got a great job, about to get promoted, a boyfriend (Matt) she loves and house she adores. Overall, she's got what she wants. That is until she comes back from out of town to find every trace of Matt and their life together wiped away from their house. She can't figure out what the heck has happened. What went wrong? Why is he gone? Why did he do this to her? How can someone just erase themselves from your life?

Hannah can't seem to move on from this though. She has to know why and is on war path to find Matt. She can't seem to focus on anything else. She slowly starts to come undone. She starts to map out on post it notes places that she has looked for Matt. Her kitchen slowly becomes a map of her mind and her slow descent in to crazy. Her friends try to encourage her to move on but Hannah has to know why he left her.

As excited as she was for her promotion, her all consuming quest to find Matt, has left not only her promotion in jeopardy but her job. She can't concentrate, she makes mistakes and shows up late consistently which doesn't go unnoticed by the partners.

While she descends into madness, you feel as if you are right there with her. The book gets creepy as you feel like she's being stalked but then you question if she's delusional and taking you along for the ride. At one point, I felt like I was going a little crazy myself.

Ms. Torjussen keeps you reading and turning those pages as fast as you can. It reeled me in from the very beginning and never let its hooks out of me. In Hannah she has a protagonist that you want to both smack and hug, sometimes simultaneously. Much like her best friend, Katie, you want her to let go of what obviously is over and yet you want to hug her because she's in such pain. She just wants answers and frankly we've all been there a time or two.

I can't recommend this book enough because I can guarantee your mind will be blow. I suggest that you go and get Gone Without a Trace.


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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Julie's Review: Every Wild Heart

Author: Meg Donohue
Series: None
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 304
Obtained: TLC Book Tours
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A mother and daughter story with some mystery thrown in
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Summary: Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight. Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic? Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next…  

Review: Every Wild Heart is a wonderful story about a mother and daughter who get along and enjoy being with each other despite the daughter being a teen. Gail (aka G.G.) is a famous talk show radio host who has always had life by the horns. She's a take no prisoners kind of gal. Her daughter, Nic, on the other hand, is definitely an introvert. If she could fade into the background she would, especially at school.

GG is struggling to decide what she wants to do next with her career. She's loved hosting talk radio but she misses her connection to listeners through music. She's also been approached to have her own tv show but she'd have to move to L.A. and given her daughter's personality, she's not so sure that's in her family's best interest. Plus her daughter still spends every other weekend with her father and his family. She's got a lot to think about career wise. She also has someone who is stalking her a little more than what she's normally used to from rabid fans.

Nic, on the other hand is more comfortable with her horse, Tru, then with kids her own age, which means she's a little awkward when she's put with a handsome senior during one of her classes.  Then an accident happens causing Nic's personality to take a 180 degrees. She starts taking risks and doing things that are out of her normal personality. Things that concern her mother and others closest to her. Not only that but she seems more confident and self-aware.

The story itself moves along at a good pace and it's wonderful to see Nic come out of her shell and find her own voice. It seems like this is the person she was always supposed to be. GG also comes out of her shell and tries her hand at love again.

Each of the characters are relate-able and easy to see yourself in or someone close to you. Even the supporting characters make GG and Nic seem more human.

I really enjoyed a positive spin on the mother/daughter relationship for a change. There is hope!

If you'd like to read more opinions about Every Wild Heart:

Tuesday, March 14th: Tina Says…

Thursday, March 16th: Kritters Ramblings

Monday, March 20th: Art Books Coffee

Tuesday, March 21st: A Bookworm's World

Wednesday, March 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, March 23rd: StephTheBookworm
Friday, March 24th: BookNAround
Tuesday, March 28th: Comfy Reading
Thursday, March 30th: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, March 31st: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
Monday, April 3rd: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, April 4th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, April 5th: Back Porchervations
Wednesday, April 5th: Girls Just Reading
Thursday, April 6th: bookchickdi
Friday, April 7th: G. Jacks Writes
Monday, April 10th: Mama Vicky Says


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Julie's Review: Bridges - A Daphne White Novel

 photo Bridges_zpsxjzcgrld.jpg

Author: Maria Murnane
Series: Daphne White #2
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Wink's Ink
Pages: 264
Obtained: Author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A delightful look at strong female friendships
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Summary: It’s a piece of news Daphne never expected to hear: Her globe-trotting friend Skylar, who vowed never to get married, is engaged! Time to celebrate in Manhattan—Skylar’s treat, of course. After years scaling the corporate ladder, she can more than afford it.Daphne arrives in NYC with news of her own—the novel she’s finally finished appears to be going nowhere but the trash bin of every publishing house around. She’s devastated but plans to keep her disappointment under wraps, something that becomes trickier when she sees Skylar’s spectacular apartment. Could her life have been like this if she’d chosen a different path? What Daphne doesn’t know is she’s not the only one with a secret. Skylar and their friend KC are also holding something back, but what? As the trip unfolds, the truth about each woman emerges, along with tears. And laughter. And love. The fun-loving trio readers fell for in Wait for the Rain is together once more. Here's to the power of friendship!

Review: Let me just say that I'm happy that Maria hasn't given up on her writing career just yet because then I would have missed out on Bridges. I've been a big fan of Maria's books since she contacted me about Perfect on Paper.

Bridges is the story of 3 college friends who embark on a girls weekend to celebrate the engagement of Skylar. Daphne is coming in from Ohio and KC is on her way from California to have a fun filled weekend in the Big Apple.

Daphne is struggling to find a career for herself after staying at home to raise her daughter full time but now that Emma is going to be going off to college in a year, she wants something for herself. She has a manuscript that she's submitted to a few dozen literary agents and is waiting for word on representation as she travels to see her friends.

KC is the free spirit of the 3 of them and is coming in from California with her own news. She's the one who keeps them all centered because that's how she lives her life. She's happily married with 2 step-sons and even a granddaughter that keeps her on her toes.

Skylar is the career driven one who has had big success but who has always eschewed marriage. So perhaps she is the most surprised when she meets James and falls head over heels in love with him. Things aren't so perfect though, she's got a step-daughter who one could call an ice princess and she's in college. It's the one part of this relationship that has her unsure.

I love how each of them can voice their fears with each other, even at times, crossing the line with each other in that frustration. To me, the forgiveness is the key to these friendships and how they have lasted so long. They understand each other enough to let things go.

If you are looking for a wonderful book about friendship, then don't look any further than Bridges. Plus the cover of this book is gorgeous and it embodies the friendship of these 3 women. It is bright, hopeful and full of love.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Julie's Review: The Cutaway

Author: Christina Kovac
Series: None
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: 37 Ink/Atria
Pages: 320
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A puzzle that is worth putting together
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Summary: When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own. Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.  

Review: Cutaway is a read that lets the reader into what it takes to put together the evening news. As a person who wanted to get in the news business years ago, I found this story to be extremely fascinating and a new lens on the thriller genre.Virginia is putting together the evening news when she gets a notice that a young woman has gone missing from Georgetown. The thing is that people don't go missing from Georgetown. As Virginia starts to get her nose into the story she starts to dig up information that leads her down a path of politics and greed.

There are many twists and turns during the novel. I felt like every time I had a good grasp on the culprit, I was steered in another direction, which to me is what a good thriller writer does. There are a couple subplots going on in the book but I felt that the enhanced the main plot. Virginia is an easy character to root for and hope that she cracks her investigation. She's tenacious and yet honest; she isn't ruthless which makes it easy for people to trust her. Virginia herself doesn't trust many people and she has her own reasons for her walls.

All the characters are well written and D.C. makes for an interesting background. Never mind the pulse of the city with politics both overtly and covertly. It seems that Ms. Kovac's uses her knowledge of both the news business and politics in her first novel.

I was fascinated by how much goes into pulling an investigative story together just to get the bylines and the leads. How they write the scripts for the evening news and pull the full story together. I would love for her to write another book.

If you are looking for a great thriller with a different angel, then you will definitely want to pick up


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Julie's Review: A Bridge Across the Ocean

Author: Susan Meissner
Series: None
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A light-hearted read that I read at the perfect time
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Summary: February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy. Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark...Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.  

Review: A Bridge Across the Ocean is a wonderful historical fiction novel with a bit of supernatural thrown into it to make it a bit more mysterious. I wasn't expecting that and enjoyed the spin that it put on the novel. Usually there's a story line that I enjoy more between the present day and the historical but in this case they were pretty equal. It helps that we were also dealing with intersecting stories with Annaliese and Simone in 1946; whereas Brette's was all her own. I do think that they couldn't all have converged if it wasn't for the supernatural element. As Brette struggles with her family's legacy and gift, she is contacted by a high school acquaintance to help his daughter process the death of her mother. It is because of this that she starts to investigate the past of Anneliese Lange.

Her husband is also pressing her to start a family and given how her family's gift is passed down she's a little hesitant. It's not that she doesn't want a family, she's just unsure how she feels about her legacy and that of her ancestors. Both Annaliese and Simone suffer greatly at the hands of the Nazi's but in vastly different ways. Simone loses both her father and brother brutally and then loses her innocence. She then finds refuge in the cellar of a winery where she tends to an injured American soldier. Annaliese is a gifted ballerina who catches the eye of Nazi Officer, Rolf Kurtz. While she doesn't love him, she has no choice but to marry him for fear of retribution on her family. She suffers greatly at the hands of her husband until she decides to take her fate into her own hands and escape. It's not easy for her until she finds refuge with an old friend.

For the me the best part of the novel was when it all comes together in both flashbacks and coinciding present day and how Ms. Meissner used alternating chapters to unfold the story. I appreciated Brette's journey but it is the stories of Annaliese and Simone that will be embedded in my head long after I closed this book.

If you are a fan of historical fiction but might enjoy a different twist then A Bridge Across the Ocean.


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Friday, March 17, 2017

Julie's Review: Never Let You Go

Author: Chevy Stevens
Series: None
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.25/5
Bottom Line: Another stellar thriller by one of my favorite authors
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Summary: Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought? With Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens delivers a chilling, twisting thriller that crackles with suspense as it explores the darkest heart of love and obsession

Review: What Lindsey is put through is enough to break the spirit of any human but Lindsey is resilient. She's built a solid life for herself and her daughter after escaping her abusive husband. She's pulled together her own cleaning business and Sophie is a well adjusted teenager but then her ex is released from prison and things slowly, then quickly spiral out of control.  Andrew is back weaseling himself back into Lindsey's life by trying to develop a relationship with their daughter Sophie.

Sophie feels the pull of developing a relationship with her father, after all he never did anything to her but she also feels guilty for going behind her mom's back to meet with him. She tries to convince herself it's because her mom wouldn't understand and would be irrational but she knows it's wrong. As more and more things start to happen to her mom, Sophie pulls back. Not to mention her blossoming relationship with Jared and how he's a bit possessive of her. Lindsey is a bit apprehensive about Jared because he reminds her a bit too much of Andrew.

As Lindsey feels pushed to the edge, she tries to make changes to her life to feel like it's back in control.  She decides to move them from their house and to stay with friends until Andrew is brought in for questioning and she feels that both her and Sophie are safe.

The tension of the novel ratchets up with each page that you turn. You feel the pain and how scared Lindsey is for her safety. Never Let You Go is a heart pumping, spine tingling book that you won't want to put down until you read the last page.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Julie's Review: Close Enough to Touch

Author: Colleen Oakly
Series: None
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Just a wonderful read
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Summary: Love has no boundaries...Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: she’s allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from. Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library where she gets a job. It’s there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled, adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can't understand why she keeps him at arm's length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.  

Review: Close Enough to Touch is a book that will have you cheering for Jubilee from page one. What would you do if you couldn't have human touch? How would you survive? This is what Jubilee faces everyday and yet somehow she has to find a way to live after 9 years of being a recluse. You can say that she might not have literally died when a boy kissed her when she was 17 but something in her did die because after that she didn't leave her house for 9 years. When she's forced to because her cash flow has dried up, it takes her a while to get the hang of being around people or even just leaving her house.

She gets a job at the library and things are going well until Eric walks into her life. This is when her life starts to go Topsy-turvy. She's dealing with feelings that she hasn't experienced in 9 years and she has no clue how to deal with them.  You want her to live her life even with her condition and to be brace and decide what is best for her.

Eric is a divorced dad of two whose teenage daughter refuses to speak to him but when he finds her journal he reads it in order to connect with her. It turns out to be a literary journal and he decides to read all the books she's noted in it. He sends her texts as he reads hoping for some response, some way to connect. He's also trying to find a way to help his adopted son, Aja, deal with the death of his parents and his obsession with telekinesis.

As much as Close Enough to Touch can be seen as a love story it is so much more than just that. It is about being brave enough to fight for the life that you want. It is about taking risks when to get to the next phase in your life, risks needs to be taken. It's about trusting yourself and trusting those closest to you but to also let go of the past. I think we all can learn from those themes. 

I laughed a lot throughout this book. There are very poignant moments as well but mainly I found myself smiling. I haven't read Ms. Oakley's first book Before I Go but it has moved up a few notches in my TBR pile.


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