The Hidden Beach

The Hidden Beach by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life is so much simpler when people just talk honestly.

After a major life event, England native Bell settles down in Sweden. The job as a nanny was dropped into her hands… After meeting Hanna, a mom of three in the cafe, ad giving her a little hand of help, Belle found herself with a well-paying and purposeful job. One of the perks of working for the family was a summer getaway on the beautiful island, outside of the civilization. This year the summer holiday is very different. The family that she loves and works for keeps a very major secret hidden from Bell, and their children. Bell’s job got a lot more difficult, especially since her own feelings got involved in the family’s affair.

It feels so good to go back to romance novels, and Karen Swan’s novels are the best. She puts a lot of effort into her research, hence her books are always unique and filled with so many details of the foreign places, their beauty, and history. This is not my most favorite novel by this author, but I did enjoy the story and the intriguing twists that it came with.

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The Late Mr. Cary

THE LATE MR. CARY: A 1920s mystery by Michael Campeta

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story takes us to a snowy and cold Albany NY. Outside is 1928. Megan boards a train in NY, not knowing that this trip will change her life. On the train, she meets a queer woman who shares a shocking secret with her. Megan also meets a handsome man in a cafe cabin. After her arrival in Albany, our young librarian crosses paths with her new acquaintances and forms a close friendship. The shocking twist comes at the end when her new friends meet her family-in-law. The fatal encounter leads to a string of shocking events.

Loved the final plot twist. I did see it coming, but fully enjoyed the reveal presented by the author. It is a fun and easy read, slow at the beginning but picks up the pace towards the end. I also found the dialogue between the characters a bit peculiar, as it lacked the natural flow. But it’s easy to disregard taking into consideration the mystery part of the whole novel.

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Make Me Disappear

Make Me Disappear by Jessica Payne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Handsome, attentive, wealthy… Daniel is the perfect boyfriend any girl could ask for. And Noelle considers herself the luckiest girl on Earth. But with time Daniel’s attention begins to smother her, and as a result, she finds herself in the tight claws of Daniel’s “love”. But the worst is yet to come. After short but successful research into Daniel’s previous relationship, she uncovers an ugly truth. Guided by fear, Noelle stages her own kidnapping, but that’s when the situation becomes very tricky and the pretend kidnapping turns into a run for her life.

This was definitely an interesting novel. I had many mixed feelings during the read. Will admit, that the plot at times was overdramatic. Certain parts just didn’t seem realistic. However, the pace of the novel was fast, and it moved from one scene to another one with lightning speed. And now, let’s talk about the fiction bomb thrown at the very end of the novel. Although I’ve expected something similar to happen, the magnitude of the twist was simply marvelous.

Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture publisher for a free and advanced copy of this novel.

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The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My obsession with Paris began many years ago, and I’ve read multiple stories about abandoned apartments in Paris and the storylines of their owners. This book, like all others, was unique and full of war horrors and losses of the war.

After her adopted family has been taken away by the Nazis, Estelle joins the french resistance. For months she hides her fellow allies, collects and shares info picked up during her time at the Ritz, and thru this work, she meets the mysterious and fearless Sophie. The list of events that took place after the fateful meeting, divided Estelle’s life into before and after. And seventy years later, Estelle opens a door to an apartment that was vacated during the war and discover’s her grandmother’s past.

I absolutely loved Estelle and Sophia’s timeline. Both of their stories are filled with bravery. I was once again amused by the courage of the resistance, who risked their lives in order to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, the “present” part was a bit disappointing. I wish the story was told without Aurelia and Gabriel’s romance. Their story seemed tacky in comparison to the service their relatives provided during WWII.

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The Girl From The Sea

The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second book by Shalini Boland and I was amazed yet again!

Our main heroine wakes up on the beach, with no memories. Days later she is claimed by a man who says he is her boyfriend. After arriving at her home, meeting her family and friends, and learning about her life before the accident, she realizes that she no longer wants to follow the lifestyle she lived prior to her accident. And it’s easier said than done, especially with a tricky past like Mia’s.

The shocking plot twist comes at a very end. Did I see it coming? Never in a million books! Don’t want to spill any spoilers, but if you’re like me – hard to surprise by a shocking ending – you must drop everything you’re reading and get this book NOW. It took me about 24 hours to read and complete the novel, that’s the major green flag for a thriller book. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture publisher for a free copy of this amazing thriller!!!

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Last Call At The Nightingale

Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Absolutely captivating Jazz age mystery.

The Nightingale is more than an underground dance hall. People come here to lose themselves from ordinary everyday life. Release the pressure of playing roles that society is expecting them to be… The Nightingale is home to rebels. Vivian is one of these people. One night, she stumbles upon a body in an alley of the club. the accident can cause big problems for the club and many of its visitors may lose the only place they can truly be themselves. After some persuasion, Vivian decides to help her beloved club, in a long run making new acquaintances and building a new and bright future.

The beginning of the novel was very slow. My biggest pet peeve is the large number of characters in the novel. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the author navigated thru the characters, making them all useful and a part of one big picture. Overall it was a very enjoyable read. Thank you NetGalley and Minotaur Books publisher for a free copy of the novel.

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Together By Christmas

Together by Christmas by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A traumatic event puts a massive strain on Lee and Cuningham’s friendship. And when Cunningham decides to make things right – his action opens a bag of memories that Lee has been working so hard on putting behind her. But while Lee is fighting her own buttle, she finds a note, asking for help. Was it intended for her to find? Unable to leave a person in trouble, Lee is searching for answers, and the person who can help with her quest is someone she swore not to see ever again. But sometimes, personal feelings must be put aside to archive a mutual goal. And all of this is taking during the most special time of the year. Christmas tends to make miracles happen, will it work its miracle on Lee and her struggles?

A wonderful story where light fights the darkness and wins the battle. Karen Swan did yet another wonderful job with this novel. I love the way she combines romance with suspense and produces a unique novel that tends to hold a special place in my memory. This time the main character not only struggles with a disturbing past, but she also finds a way to forgive and reunite with an old special friend, help people in danger and find special someone to complete her family. This is not a cheese romance, the novel includes some gruesome parts. However, in the end, everyone lives happily ever after.

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Searching For My Daughter

Searching for My Daughter by Liz Trenow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story starts with Rosa. The young Jewess was abused by her wicked employer, a nazi officer. But she’s made a deal with the devil to save her beloved father, and paid a brutal price. When the opportunity arrived to escape the hell that she called life – Rosa jumped to it without further thought. Unfortunately, what she thought would be an escape to a better life placed her family into danger.

Horrific years of the war have passed, and there is peace in the world at last. Miriam is on her way to London to find her daughter. Her journey is rough, but she meets all the right people and her chances to find her daughter is very high.

A beautiful, heartwarming story of a family that has been torn apart by the war. Although I knew this book would have a happy ending, the actual finale of the story was better than I expected. I’ve enjoyed following Miriama and Rosa’s stories. After reading tens of WWII books, and revisiting each unique story, this novel gives yet another moving uplifting ending. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for an advanced copy of this lovely novel.

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The Housemaid

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Housemaid is my second novel by Freida McFadden and I was pleasantly surprised by the story.

Nina, a glamorous housewife, Millie, an ex-convict turned housemaid, and Andrew, a handsome and loving husband, and father. Nice set of characters for a phycological thriller. Millie, desperate for a job, jumps into a very great opportunity. But she underestimates her new employees. With no place to go, nor people to help her, she has no choice but to stay employed at the Winchesters’ home.

I was very impressed by the story and the twists that were spread out throughout the novel. Millie’s character was very impressive and kept surprising me with each chapter. But don’t forget Nina, I still can’t decide if I feel sorry for her character or inspired by her patience and calculating skills. Although the theme of the novel reminds me a lot of Ms. McFadden’s previous book “The Wife Upstairs”, maybe it’s the author’s style of novels. Nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed the new book, and loved all the jaw-dropping twists the novel has thrown at me. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the last few chapters. The great ending, with a little cliffhanger, makes me think if we will hear about Millie in the upcoming novel.

Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Paris Apartment

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Paris Apartment is my second novel by Lucy Foley, and boy was I excited reading this book!

When Ben failed to greet Jess at his place, it didn’t ring a bell of danger. But when he didn’t appear at his apartment the next day without a word of explanation, Jess began to dig deeper into her brother’s life in Paris. Strangely, the tenants of the exclusive apartment building where Ben has been residing since his move to Paris had the least to say about his life in this strange city.

This novel is full of twists and turns. I was screaming with excitement when the second part of the novel confirmed my suspicions!! And the story got even bigger and better with each chapter. This book is a page-turner. I’ve finished it within 24 hours. If you’re a thriller junkie like myself – look no further, lock yourself in a quiet place, get lots of treats and wine and enjoy this gripping novel.

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Shadows of Berlin

Shadows of Berlin by David R. Gillham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After the horrors of the War, Rachel found her happy ending. Her loving and supportive Jewish husband, safe and clean home, and most of all, freedom. While Rachel has her physical freedom, inside her head she is captivated by the past, and mostly by the price she had to pay for her survival.

One thing Rachel brought with her from her homeland – was her artistic talent. But when she tried to express herself on the canvas, she was met face to face with her hunting past. To pass the line between her past and her future, she needs to admit to her crimes. It takes a strong will to do so, but Rachel’s will has been weakened by her survival guilt.

A heartbreaking story of a young girl living in the land of freedom but captivated by her guilt that has taken place halfway across the world. Time passes, but it does not heal. Learning about Rachel’s past had explained her character as an adult as we met her on the pages of this novel. Guided by the darkness of her past, she is afraid to express herself thru her passion – art, afraid to show the world her true character. Great ending of the novel. Rachel was finally free and open to new life possibilities and the future. Human nature tends to forgive, but never forget. Although I did enjoy the novel and Rachel’s story, the novel itself was too long and at times it was stuck on the subjects that could have been avoided or shortened. Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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What She Witnessed

What She Witnessed by Cole Baxter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From the first pages of the book, I felt nothing but pity for Kelly. Her life went down the hill the day her husband passed away. But the sudden death of the husband was only the beginning of the horror of a life that Kelly will live throughout the novel.

Although I liked the idea of the plot, there was something about Kelly’s character that bothered me to the core. My compassion for her has changed about halfway through the novel as I found her character whiny and cross. The plot itself had great potential, but it took a long time to develop and unfortunately didn’t stand up to the thrilling synopsis.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

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