The Dare

The Dare by Lesley Kara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you ever read Colleen Hoover’s “This Is Us” and enjoyed the ending – this is a book for you!

Now, please meet our main character – Lizzie. It seems that Lizzie, who had a rough teenagehood that followed after the tragic accident that involved her best friend, has finally found her happily ever after. A new home and loving fiance were a new start to the life she never imagined would happen… And suddenly, like a domino effect, the memories, people, and secrets from the past began to appear at a rapid pace and made Lizzie question not only her future… but also her painful past.

The pages of the novel are full of hatred, anger, remorse, loss, happiness, and a little bit of hope. The reader goes thru multiple ranges of emotions before heading for the final chapter. Thank you NetGalley and Bantam Press Publisher for an advanced copy of the novel.

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Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old

Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old: A Step-By-Step Plan for Baby Sleep Success by Suzy Giordano

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Received this book as a gift when my baby girl was born.

The good part – it’s a fast read since a new mom does not have time to sit down and read any book. My advice for new mommies is to read this book before your baby is born. Or you will end up like me stretching the read throughout five weeks.

The bad part – there is not a lot of useful information. Basically, 90% of the book is about baby sleep whisperer and how good she is at her job (I’m sure she is very good as she has built her career on this great skill), and only 10% of actually useful info.

Well, by the time I was able to finish the book, my baby girl was already sleeping thru most of the night. An author, the baby coach as she likes to call herself, lists many good tips in the book that should help with training your baby to sleep twelve hours per night. I’ve used my own methods (combined pieces of advice from other baby books and family and friends) for my daughter’s sleep training, however, I’ve applied a few tips from the book to my daily and nightly nap/sleep routines and I can tell that 90% of the time it did work. Hence not a total waste of time reading the book.

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The Therapist

The Therapist by B.A. Paris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been B.A.Paris’ fan for many years and always looking forwards to her new novels. When I received an advanced copy of “The Therapist” – I read it right away. B.A.Paris always intrigues me with her unique twists, and this novel was not an exception.

“Do you know what Henry David Thoreau believed? Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” said The Therapist. A famous quote to live by, and in the case of The Therapist – to lure new clients into their web.

The novel was nothing that I expected of it. The main character Alice who has struggled with her past and an obsession over the death of her family, and mostly her sister finds an interesting fact about the new house she and the boyfriend recently moved into. The obsession with the woman who lived and died in the house grew over Alice’s desire to make new friends from the gated neighborhood. It blinded her to the point when she overlooked a very important detail that almost cost her the relationship and most importantly – her own life.

The novel is full of million and one plot twists and secrets. I loved the story and mystery that surrounded the gated community. It was hard to put the book down. Thank you St. Martin’s Publishing Group for a free and advanced copy of this novel and B.A.Paris for yet another great novel.

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Bringing Up Bebe

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I came upon this book by multiple recommendations and it was way better than I expected it to be.

First of all, the book is created in two parts. In the first part, the author describes her life as a mother in France and her parental shock on the difference of bringing up the baby in a completely different baby culture. As she outlines french baby care and compares it to the American one that she has experienced herself, we see a drastic difference. When American parents are pushing their kids into the educating world and trying to raise their IQ at an early age, french parents taking a step back, letting their kids “discover” the world, and take their time to simply be a child.

The book concentrates not only on how to raise the child but also on how to keep the relationship between the parents.

The author does not praise one set of cultural parenting, but simply compares the two. Lists explanations and examples. While there are multiple differences not only in the culture between the two countries, the author also sheds the light on the French government and the help it offers for the parents and kids, which must have been taken into consideration while comparing the parenting techniques and styles between the countries.

I’ve read a few books on parenting and must admit that this book was the best. It’s easy to read, very simply explained and I love the examples. And cant wait to use many of the listed tips when the time comes.

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Too Good To Be True

Too Good to Be True by Carola Lovering

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was glued to the book from the very first page. Enjoyed the style of the novel was written – the three timelines narrated by three main characters.

After many years of suffering from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), Sky finally found a man who did not only accepted her quirky behavior, but loved and shared her passion, future goals, and showered her with his attention. After a short six months, Burke proposed, and another six months later they exchanged their vows in a lavish ceremony in front of family and friends.

However, the happiness was short-lived. After the spectacular honeymoon, Sky returned home to a devastating discovery. Burke, the man that vowed to love and protect her for the rest of her life turned out to be an imposter. More than that, Sky and Burke’s history was way more complicated… it began more than twenty years earlier and involved her mother and… Burke’s real wife.

I must say, I could not put the novel down till probably 2/3 of the book. It turned into a sappy love triangle afterward. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the ending, and in my opinion, it didn’t stand up to a strong begging of the novel. Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Paris Library

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Without toi, there’s no moi.”
― Janet Skeslien Charles, The Paris Library

By 1939 Odile couldn’t ask anything better from her life. A new job at American Library in Paris brought her not only joy but many great new friends. Her relationship with the family couldn’t be better, loving parents and supportive twin brother. And of course, nouvel amour, that took her breath away. Odile’s happiness was short-lived as her beloved country and city were occupied by Nazi’s and her idyllic life came to an end. As the War progressed and brought sorrow into her life, Odile began to make decisions that affected the lives of the ones she dearly loved.

By 1983 Odile found herself in a new country, living a new lonely life when a knock on the door gave her an opportunity to make an impact on a young girl’s life. Meeting Lily and getting to know her family, and later supporting the young girl thru grief and grand change in her young life made Odile take a look back at her life, and for the first time open up and tell her story, and share her shame.

Odile and Lily’s friendship warmed my heart. Despite the significant age difference, they learned a lot from each other’s character. I wanted to love this novel, the build-up to Odile’s final twist in the novel was grander than the actual ending to her Parisian affair. It was a good but slow read. I read the book in my free time but I didn’t free my time to read the book. Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Secret Diary of a New Mum (aged 43 1/4)

The Secret Diary of a New Mum by Cari Rosen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed parts of the book. Although I am not in my forties, however, I found many similarities between my and the author’s experiences. Overall the book was very entertaining and offers some good guidance. I have expected the book to be more educating, however, the author’s writing was focused on her personal experience and outcome. I found good info in the book. It was like discussing my own experience with a friend.

I did feel bad for the author, she went thru a rough experience not just pregnancy-wise, but more mental discouragement and judgment. It is sad to see there are people who would judge the new mother because of her age. And instead of accepting the judgment, an author took this experience and made it into a book. I applaud her for her sense of humor, for standing up to the “bullies” and proving that motherhood may be challenging in the forties, but not less exciting and enjoyable.

Good and quick read. Thank you NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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Роксолана: Полная версия легендарной книги by Павло Загребельный

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“An intelligent, kind, understanding, openhearted, candid, talented, generous, emotional and grateful woman who cares about the soul rather than the body; who is not carried away with ordinary glimmers such as money, prone to science and art; in short, a perfect woman.” Pavlo Zahrebelny

Tatars’ attack on Ukrainian villages was a typical incident back in the 1500s. During one of the attacks on Rohatyn, Nasty among other young men and women was taken into slavery. On the day of the attack, Nastya was on her way to the church, to wed. Young Nastya’s beauty was immediately noted by Tatars, which resulted in better treatment. Once in Istambul, instead of giving up hope for the future, Nasty decides to learn the language and new tradition in order to be sold into a better home as a maid. As the luck shined on the Ukrainian slave, she was purchased by the highest house in the whole Ottoman Empire and joined Sultans Harem.

It took a very short time for Nastya to meet Suleiman. And even less time for the Ottoman Emperor to fall for a beautiful and smart Ukrainian girl. Nastya used Suleiman’s affection to become the Haseki Sultan, and eventually filled the space in his heart. After converting to Islam, she became the chief consort and legal (and ONLY) wife of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. She has become one of the most powerful and influential women in Ottoman history.

Her road to power was not easy. But determination, strong will, intelligence rewarded her with the power she never hoped to achieve. She was cruel and stony-hearted and would execute anyone who stood in her way. But she opened her heart and arms to the poor and less fortunate. Her legacy keeps thriving.

Phenomenal story of a simple Slovak girl who made a huge impact on the Ottoman Empire. Great and fast read full of many interesting facts of Slovak and Ottoman history.

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Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The novel takes place in the early 1900 and follows the lifelines social lights of Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Thaw, Stanford White, and many others. Although the three are not the main leads of the novel, they do take a large part in confectioning our main characters together.

While it took a while for the novel to make sense, I did enjoy the plot. The storyline moved fast, and each character’s life stories were different, fascinating, and took drastic changes throughout the novel.

I did admire Mother’s Younger Brother for taking the stand for justice and joining Coalhouse Walker in his revenge. And poor Jewish immigrant Tateh, who made a big name in the cinema industry in order to take his little family from poverty and give his little girl the life she deserved. And finally the Mother’s strength, protection, and love for a little orphan.

Good overall read. There were a few entertaining chapters. Not my favorite historical fiction, as it was hard to follow the plot at time. It did come together by the end of the book.

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The Wife Upstairs

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great book to start a new year with! Dear reader, prepare yourself for a phenomenal roller coaster of events.

Jane’s life turns upside down when she meets a handsome, rich, and newly widowed bachelor on a street in the most upscale and gated neighborhood of Thornfield Estates. Mother Fortune has given Jane this lucky chance, and she is not stupid to pass it by. Shortly after Jane’s address changes, as well as her wardrobe, daily routine, manners, tastes, and new shiny bling on THE finger. Besides the wealth, Jane inherits Eddie’s dead wife’s shadow that begins to follow her since the first time she stepped foot into Eddie’s residence. Blinded by such a turn of events, Jane doesn’t right away notice her future husband’s strange behavior. And what follows next will open her eyes to the truth behind the unfortunate accident that took place before Jane’s fabulous entrance into the Thornfield Estates and it’s residents’ lives.

Ah, what a marvelous, intriguing, and captivating read this was. Way better than I expected. Fabulous characters followed by a twisted plot at the end of which the hunter becomes hunted, victims become victimizers.

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The Hypnotist’s Love Story

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book so much!

The novel introduces us to a sort of a love triangle. Ellen, her new lover Patrick and his ex-girlfriend. Each character comes in with their own emotional baggage. Ellen, who never met her birth father, has a tendency to fall for “bad boys”. Patrick, widower and a single father. And finally Saskia, the ex, aka the stalker who still holds an emotional attachment to a relationship that has ended years prior. The first half of the book was great. A new love interest, stalker, personal insecurities… this book had it all… and then it hit the weird turn. As with a help of a magic wand, all the problems that characters were dealing with were mysteriously resolved and everyone lived happily ever after.

I read Liane Moriarty’s other books, and I have very much enjoyed the twists in her stories. This one seems to be one of her earlier works, hence I can say – she is improving with each novel.

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The Boston Girl

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Boston Girl” is an amazing story that includes a woman’s role in society in the early twentieth century, immigrant life and their adjustment to American life, child labor, it also mentions many historical events such as WWI, the Great Depression, and the flu epidemic.

Addie Baum was born in Boston in 1900 into a Jewish family. Since the beginning, she was treated as an outcast by her mother, and very early in life, she gave up on the hope to make her parents proud of her achievements and decided to become her own woman. Her love for books has led her to The Saturday Club where she met her lifelong mentors, made friendships that lasted a lifetime, and finally – the way to her independence.

Addie’s life is filled with woman empowerment, determination, heartbreaks, and of course love. It’s a great read, with fast pacing plot, and amazing characters.

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