The Blackout Club

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To gather people together in the midst of the war and get their midst of the gruesome reality, the town’s librarian creates a book club. Within a few short months, the book club turns its attendees into a close-knit group of trustworthy, reliable, and loving friends.

The Blackout Book Club is a beautiful, heartwarming story. A group of people from different social circles bonds together over the love of reading. Although the time of the novel takes place in the middle of WWII, our characters are placed in the safety of the little town of Maine.
One of my favorite parts of the novel was the club members’ discussions of the books they have read in their club. During my reading, I wanted to be a part of their wonderful group.
If you’re in a search of a feel-good novel – this book is for you. Wonderful writing, a great fast pace plot. This book will leave you with a feeling of hope and joy.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced and free copy of the novel in the exchange for my honest review.

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Paperback Jack

Paperback Jack by Loren D. Estleman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The post-war publishing world meets Jacob Happelmen with a new challenge. Ever clever writer is able to write himself into a new and quite successful career. But the road he took to get there and the relationships he has made to help him reach the rise of his career are under thorough investigation. And once the famous author is about to get famously punished.

Phenomenal fast pace novel full of clever characters and a gripping plot. Jacob is by far my absolute favorite character, his witty humor and never-ending sarcasm made this novel even more entertaining. I am absolutely amazed by how much I’ve enjoyed this story. Great writing style and I can’t wait to read more of Loren D. Estleman’s novels. This may be my new favorite historical fiction read.

Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel in the exchange for my honest review.

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The Lindbergh Nanny

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twenty months old Charlie is taken from his family home. Distraught parents and the house help work closely with the police to find and bring little darling back home. Every person in the house is under suspicion, and Charlie’s nurse Betty carries the heaviest burden.

Prior to reading the novel, I didn’t know this was based on real-life events. Although this novel is pure work of fiction, the author did amazing research and focused her story on the boy’s nanny. From the very beginning, I was fond of young Betty, a Scottish immigrant who came to America to follow her heart but instead landed employment with the most famous family in the country. The Lindbergh Nanny is a gripping read, and sadly without a happy ending.

I was surprised to learn Agatha Christie’s “The Murder on the Orient Express”, one of my favorite mystery novels, is based on the story of the missing Lindbergh boy. I am glad Mariah Fredericks has brought this devastating story back to our time and told it in a beautiful yet melancholic way.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

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The Girl With The Yellow Star

The Girl With the Yellow Star by Natalie Meg Evans

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cornwall, England, 1943. Never in her wildest dream, Gwenna thought that she would be working alongside german POWs on her beloved family farm. But the circumstances led to the current status, and she had no choice but to accept the help. Besides the three working POWs at the far, Gwenna has another german visitor. Days prior to their arrival, a young Jewish refugee became Gwenna’s guest at the farmhouse. Gwenna is afraid of the conflict that can occur between the working german officers and the Jewish girl. But to her surprise, Lotti and Max develop a unique friendship. Living in a village that has tremendous resentment towards the German nation, the german visitors very quickly warm their way into Gwenna’s heart.

This novel takes on a different direction than all the resistance novels that I am so fond of. It came to my surprise the treatment of german POWs on the territory of England VS the opposite side. Nevertheless, it always warms my heart to read about human kindness no matter the nationality or religion. This novel shows us that love can overcome hate, new experiences would never replace memories and the world moves on.

Wonderful plot, favorable characters, and an overall uplifting novel. There are many heart-stopping situations, so naturally, the tension is palpable throughout, but it makes for a real page-turner. I recommend this novel to my fellow WWII readers as well as romance lovers. Thank you, NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the novel, and Natalie Meg Evans for a heartwarming story.

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Jacqueline In Paris

Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1949 Paris welcomes Jacqueline Bouvier with an authentic lifestyle, new friendships, delicious French cuisine, classes in the Sobourne, and first love. And this is not all. Her new experiences involve a visit to the concentration camp, an unpleasant encounter with soviet soldiers, and a trip thru post-war Europe.

I love the way Jackie loved Paris. I felt what she felt walking the streets of Latin quoter, crossing the Alexander Bridge, enjoying the outdoor cafes, and simply appreciating the forever chick Paris. Said that – I enjoyed Ann Mah’s version of Jackie’s year in Paris, and learned a few new and interesting details about America’s First Lady. Although I found this novel quite charming, I was disappointed with the ending. The tense build-up of the communist subject simply dissolved at the end. Throughout the novel, I assumed Jacqueline had stronger involvement in the party. Overall, it is a good, light, and entertaining read. Jacqueline in Paris is pure work of fiction based on the details of Jackie’s time in the city of lights.

Thank you Mariner Books publisher for a free copy of the novel.

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The Lost Girl In Paris

The Lost Girl in Paris by Jina Bacarr

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Emma gets an opportunity of a lifetime – a personal invitation, by Madame De Cadieux to join her on the return trip back to Paris in the exchange for an exclusive interview.

It was Angéline’s dream one day to write the true story of her early life and her involvement in the resistance. The connection she feels with a young journalist gives her an opportunity to fulfill her dream.

But when the women sit down and begin their work, they uncover a very unique secret.

I love reading about the resistance, and the lives of the concentration camp survivors. If Emma was a real character – I would love to be her friend. Now, back to the novel. Great idea for the book, but a dull plot. I could tell from the very first pages that the two heroines are related. There was no secret it in. Tiena’s story was heartbreaking, and I do not think she fulfilled her revenge in the end. The scene that led to Angéline’s arrest was simply absurd. She gave up her mother’s bracelet, but could not give her friend’s coat away. Where’s the logic?

Am I regretting the time spent on this novel – not really. It could be better, but it is still a beautiful, light, heartwarming read. I would recommend this book to readers that begin to learn of the Nazi-occupied Paris.

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Lavender House

Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Andy is invited to Lavender House to solve the mystery behind the death of the family’s matriarch. The peculiar house and its tenants come as a big surprise to him. While dealing with a recent personal life-changing event, Andy throws himself head first into the unusual case. One by one, he learns of the residents’ secrets and future plans, and nothing escape’s Andy’s witty eye. At last, he is ready to announce the fatal murderer…

The novel is written in good ole Agatha Christie style. Love the LGBT vibe of the novel. I would label this as a cozy mystery, it’s a fast and pleasant read. Andy Mills is my absolute favorite character, and hope this is the first of his many mysteries.

Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel in the exchange for my honest review.

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The Man In The Brown Suit

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Young Anne Beddingfeld has come to London in search of new advantage. And it didn’t take her a long time to find it, the opportunity literally fell in front of her on the train platform. A mystery man, dead on a platform, with a puzzling note that reads “17.1 22 Kilmorden Castle”. Our young lady wastes no time, with a collaboration with the local newspaper she begins an investigation that takes her on board a luxurious liner “Kilmorden Castle”, where she will discover decade long conspiracy.

My love for Mrs. Christie’s novels began over 20 years ago. I am having a hard time finding modern books that leave me with the same excitement as Mrs. Christie’s books. Her characters are witty, misleading, and very intriguing. It has been a while since I picked up Mrs. Christie’s novel, and I was happy to find myself in a midst of the 1920s diamond scheme. Although I enjoyed the novel, the plot was long and it took a long time to get to an interesting part. But once I got there, the twists and turns of the novel were worth the time spent on the book. Agatha Christie has the ability to involve her large cast of characters in the novel and give each and everyone a functional role.

The Man In The Brown Suit is an absorbing historical detective novel, full of fun and quick-witted personages and a fascinating diamond venture.

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Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Isobel and Edward arrived in the New World with hopes for a better and brighter future. But shortly after their arrival, Edward leaves his young wife to defend for herself. Luckily, Isobel is a master in her trade and puts her seamstress skills to work. But abandoned by her husband and lonely, she falls into the arms of darl and handsome Nathaniel Hawthorne. Unfortunately, her happily ever after is short-lived and the young girl finds herself in yet another misfortunate situation.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the novel. It covers the history of the Salem witch trials, and our main heroine Isobel comes from the line of women who fell under the witchcraft category. I also enjoyed the back story of the well-known Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Hester is a great novel, full of interesting historical facts and an overall absorbing story. Rumor has it that Isobel is an inspirational character behind Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, and now, more than ever, I am eager to read this classic. Thank you, NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read this book.

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The Last Checkmate

The Last Checkmate by Gabriella Saab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a midst of WW2, Maria enters Auschwitz. During her first moments in the camp, she catches the attention of a sadistic camp deputy, Karl. After that point, her life in the camp is divided into before and after. An innocent child that has entered the camp has been reborn into a new individual, prisoner #16671. Her new goal is to survive the war and bring her enemies to justice.

The Last Checkmate is a story of a young child who enters Auschwitz, and never returns. Auschwitz has taken everything from Maria, her childhood, her hopes, her love for chess, and her family. The story has so many “what if” moments. And just like a domino effect, one unfortunate situation has brought a series of unlucky events on a young girl.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. My heart broke every time Maria had to mourn a loved family member or a friend. The last chess game with Karl brought even more pain to Maria, and it made me sad that she didn’t get to fulfill her wish. Nevertheless, this has been a great read about resistance, love, loss, and the courage to move forward.

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The Spanish Promise

The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While conducting business in sunny and beautiful Spain, Charlotte crosses paths with her first love. Although their happy encounter is short-lived, the two decide to put their personal feeling aside for the sake of their mutual work project. The Mendoza family has a secret, that goes way back to the civil war. And in order to complete their mission, Charlotte and Nathan dig deep into the family’s history, uncovering the gruesome truth.

The Spanish Promise is a great feel-good novel. I loved the dual timeline and the suspense behind the Mendoza family. A great read that includes a bit of Spanish civil war history facts. Karen Swan always does thorough research about the locations where her novels are placed. One of the reasons I enjoy her books.

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Secrets Of The Nile

Secrets of the Nile by Tasha Alexander

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my first Lady Emily Mystery, and despite the fact it is the 16th novel, I fell right into the story without needing the explanations of her previous books.

A spectacular vacation planned by Lord Bertram Deeley for his close friends is taking place on a lavish cruise on the Nile. But Lord Deeley falls dead during the first dinner party and the cause of his death is cyanide. Has one of the guests arrived at the party with a vicious plan to kill their host? As Lady Ashton and her husband take a closer look at their peers, they uncover a scandalous reality, every single guest has a motive to poison the late Lord Deeley, but who took the advantage of the opportunity and murdered their host?

The remarkable story of the murders that are taking place on the historic Nile. Although the novel does have a very close writing style to the famous queen of mystery Agatha Christie, this story is its own gem. Not a big fan of a large number of characters, although it worked so well in the novel and the author has utilized every one of them in a great thrilling fashion. The last plot twist was wonderful, although I have predicted it, loved the explanation provided by the author. Even though I liked the novel, it was a very slow and long read. The second sub-story was good, but not impressive. It made the point it was supposed to make, just took a very long time getting there. Nevertheless, I loved Lady Emily Ashton and her corkiness and looking forward to reading more of her adventures.

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