The Whispers of War

The Whispers of WarThe Whispers of War by Julia Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the author of “The Light Over London” comes a new debut novel “The Whispers of War“.

Three childhood friends…
Two hostile nations…
One great war…

We’ll always be… just us three… A mantra the three girls have shared for ages since they have met at all-girls school. Years after the graduation, the three girls: German-born Marie, proud feminist, and homeowner Nora, and married matchmakers Hazel remained as close as sisters. When Germany invaded Poland, Marie’s relation to Nazi sympathizers put her life into great danger. While defending and standing by her friend’s side, Nora became dismissed from her job, but shortly after she has found a new calling by joining WREN. However, the biggest surprise came from Hazel, who decided to fight german discrimination and help fellow German-born individuals in her own way. The beginning of WWII has tested their friendship, taught each and one of them a greater life lesson, and changed their lives in different ways.

The novel covers the first year of the war (’39-’40), and it gives the reader a front-row view of London based British and german-born residents’ reaction to Hitler’s action and the beginning of the second great war. This is the time we see women starting to step up in their roles, voice and stand by their beliefs and opinions, and find their place in the world. A great story, a wonderful set of characters. Beautifully and tastefully written. Thank you NetGalley and Gallery Books publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel, and big thank you to Julia Kelly for a heartfelt story.

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The Christmas Lights

The Christmas LightsThe Christmas Lights by Karen Swan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Karen Swan’s writing style. most of her books have dual storylines that are always connected. The prologues are always intriguing and pull the reader into the story from page one.

This year our main characters are Signy and Bo. Besides coming from different eras and backgrounds, the two have one thing in common – they both have experienced a trauma that has made a big effect on their lives. An incident has changed Signy’s life when she was fourteen years old. But an awful event shaped the young girl into a wise woman who in the end, overcame her sorrow and found the way to move on with her life. And when Bo’s brother passed away in her arms, she found her escape in constant running mode from the typical daily life. However, everything has changed when wise and old Signy entered Bo’s life.

I love everything about this book, location, characters, and storylines. It covers infidelity, physical and emotional abuse, murder. This is not the typical happy go lucky kind of novel, but that’s what I love about Karen Swan’s writing.

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Christmas in Vermont

Christmas in VermontChristmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anita Hughes’ books are becoming a part of my Twelve Books of Christmas Tradition.

This year, I’ve spent a wonderful time in a beautiful little town in Vermont. My travelers were college sweethearts Emma and Fletcher. The story of the two goes back 11 years. One fateful evening, before the graduation, the couple makes a chain of unfortunate mistakes that leads to the sudden break-up.

Fast forward to the present tense, the two meet in a winter wonderland – Vermont. Fletcher, who is spending a romantic holiday in the countryside with his daughter and new fiance, runs into his ex-girlfriend Emma. What he does not know, is the fact that Emma has followed him to snowy Vermont for a reason, and the reason is – to rekindle the old flame.

I love Anita Hughes’s novels. And this one was a perfect little story, however, I was disappointed with the characters, especially Bronwyn, Lola, and Megan. Lola did not sound like a 10-year-old at all, Megan was a spoiled brat from page one and Bronwyn was just blah, I could not find anything interesting about her. The plot is very predictable, I guess I was expecting a little challenge there. Nevertheless, this is a sweet novel to cuddle up with during chilly winter evenings.

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Rebecca

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

Young, timid and naรฏve companion to a rich American woman meets a dashing and charming widower on the holiday in Monte Carlo. Shortly after meeting wealthy Englishman, she accepts his surprise marriage proposal, and after tying the knot and marvelous honeymoon in Italy, Maxim de Winter brings the young wife back to his ominous and gothic estate of Manderley. The married life in Manderley is everything young Mrs. de Winter has ever dreamed of, however, the shadow of recently drowner wife of Maxim beginning to weight on the new marriage.

Rebecca de Winter – a famous beauty with miraculous taste in fashion, devoted and loving wife and perfect hostess… Our young Mrs. de Winter has large shoes to fit, however at every step and turn her efforts are desperately crashed.

Rebecca is one of the quintessential books I ever read. Deception, misery, revenge, unhealthy relationships – this novel has it all! My advice to you – take a trip to gothic Manderley, you will not be left disappointed.

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The Wives

The WivesThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The Wives” is a thriller in the best tradition of Alfred Hitchcock, it’s the kind of book that’s nearly impossible to put down.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Seth live in a polygamy relationship. The only thing that all three women have in common is Seth. They have never met, live in different cities, have distinct hobbies and careers, they never contacted each other, and more than that – they do not even know each other’s names. However, this idyllic arrangement is about to hit an iceberg. Buckle up your belts – you’re in for a mystifying ride.

This novel is amazing suspense, it has everything: unreliable narrator, twisty turns, “what in the world?” moments. A perfect marriage/relationship/arrangement that is a lot more then meets the eye. The best part about this novel is the punches never stop coming. Even when I neared the end – BOOM another big reveal. I’m very good at predicting the ending, and with this book, I’ve made many assumptions, several guesses as to what is going on – and yet I was still so wrong! Thank you NetGalley and Graydon House publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel, and Tarryn Fisher for a hopelessly tragically perfect thriller.

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The Paris Girl

The Paris GirlThe Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Betrayal, despair and quandary are three words that describe Natalie Meg Evans’ new novel “The Paris Girl”.

The story starts off with an engagement of Russian former aristocrat Tatiana to a wealthy French nobleman, that sets a number of despondent events that would follow the young Russian princess. As the novel progresses, we follow Tatiana’s storyline which tends to change at a rapid speed. The first half of the book was thrilling and I could not get enough of the story. The novel covers major topics such as depression, rape, outside of wedlock pregnancy, wrongful conviction and fall of social status.

The second part of the book was anticlimactic. As many facts were already listed incorrectly since the beginning of the novel (that I was willing to ignore), the second half of the book simply lucked the realistic element of life and human nature. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the portion of the story. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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The Last Wife

The Last WifeThe Last Wife by Nicola Marsh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Last Wife is a mystery novel involving around prestigious and powerful Chicago family – the Parkers.

The novel starts with an intriguing email that contains scandalous info on all-female members of the Parker clan, the information that can not only ruin the family’s relationship but also their public reputation. The mysterious email was followed by a chain of accidents that harmed each member of the Parker tribe. And for the first time in years – Parkers unite in order to find the person responsible for the family’s misfortune.

The novel had such great potential. I was hooked to the plot from the first pages, however, the “big twist” I was so anxiously waiting for and the ending of the story was quite dissatisfying. It was a great build-up of the storyline, I wish there was the more fascinating finale. Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture publisher for an advanced and free copy of the novel.

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All The Flowers In Paris

All the Flowers in ParisAll the Flowers in Paris by Sarah Jio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two women, two timelines, one apartment…

2019, sunny and warm Paris.
A terrible accident leaves Caroline without a memory. After returning from a hospital, she finds herself in a glamorous apartment in Paris… all alone. Between the flashbacks of her memory, Caroline rediscovers herself in today’s world. She uncovers the love for painting, delicious french cuisine… and french man. During one of the sleepless nights, Caroline explores her large flat only to stumble on old wartime letters hidden in one of the bedrooms.

1943, Nazi-occupied Paris.
Cecile’s world turns upside down when she sees a yellow star painted on the window of the flower shop owned by her father. To top that, she catches the eye of a tyrant German officer. There is only one way to avert the destiny that hovers over all jews in Paris – run. But her plans are discovered, and Cecile becomes a prisoner in the Nazi’s home.

All The Flowers In Paris is a bittersweet novel of two women that at some point in their lives share the same apartment on rue Cler. Their stories are heartbreaking and full of grief, but, in the end, it teaches a valuable lesson – the ability to forgive, love and be thankful for good times and bad.

Thank you NetGalley and Orion publisher for an advanced free copy of the novel, and Sarah Jio for a wonderful story.

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The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in ParisThe Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Everything in life happens for a reason, and “The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris” is a perfect example to prove the theory.

Anna receives a phenomenal opportunity of a lifetime. Therefore Anna leaves her previous life behind in a small town in England and on her way to concur Chocolate world in the city of light and love. Upon her arrival in Paris, Anna becomes an apprentice to a very famous French confectioner Thierry, and shortly after they become close friends. During one of their walks, le famous chocolatier suffers a heart attack. This unfortunate incident plays a big role in Thierry’s life – it gives him a chance to reunite with the love of his life.

A heartwarming novel about new chances and opportunities, young love and friendship. Thank you NetGalley and Sphere Publisher for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda FitzgeraldDear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald” book combine survived Fitzgeralds’ letters that Scott and Zelda have exchanged from the time they have met and thru Scott’s death.

For me, as a newbie to Scott and Zelda’s love story, this book was a phenomenal information source that explained very thoroughly Fitzgeralds’ relationship and reasons that drove Scott to alcoholism and Zelda to insanity.

One thing that fascinated me the most was their dedication to each other. Even in the period of Zelda’s first breakdown, Fitzgeralds were able to sustain their alliance despite the fact they have blamed each other for their failures. It was an interesting fact to see that while apart – Fitzgeralds’ lead calmer lives, but once together – their worlds would collapse with rapid speed.

While reading Fitzgeralds’ letters – I often caught myself thinking: how different their lives would become if they would never be married, or separated once their marriage problems have begun. Would Zelda lose her sanity? Would Scott’s alcoholism be prevented?

In the end, I find Fitzgeralds’ story love story passionate and romantic. Two highly intelligent people hopelessly in love, whose remarkable personalities clash once together, but remained devoted to each other thru their best times and worst. Their story is inspirational but tragique at the same time.

Thank you, NetGalley for an advanced free copy of the book.

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The Little Bookshop on the Seine

The Little Bookshop on the Seine (The Little Paris Collection, #1; The Bookshop, #2)The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet heartwarming story of friendship, trust, and determination.

Sarah is a kind and gracious friend, therefore when her friend from Paris asks to swap their bookshops and lives for a few months, she leaves her small and sweet little town behind in order to help her friend, and to get a taste of Paris.

Upon her arrival in the city of lights, everything seems to fall out of order. Her bags with documents are stolen, the shop is in a complete mess, the staff seems very snobby. And no matter how hard Sarah tries to raise the sales, nothing seems to be working, and worst of all – money start to go missing from the cash register. On top of everything, her long-distance relationship with a handsome freelance reporter is starting to go down the hill as well.

As weeks go by, Sarah achieves one of her goals, bookshops’ employees start to open up and include her in their circle. She meets one of her favorite author, with whom Sarah strikes a great friendship. She also finds a stack of old love letters hidden in a dark corner of the bookshop.

I loved the story. A wonderful set of many different characters, and a great life lesson – don’t judge people your first impression of them, you never know what they are going thru.

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Fatal Inheritance

Fatal InheritanceFatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you are searching for a light historical fiction mystery – look no further. This novel contains a wonderful location and a great set of characters who are connected by one mysterious secret.

Let’s start from the beginning. Eve Forrester is caught in loveless and dishonest marriage. She has no close friends or relatives. Therefore, Eve and her husband are caught by a surprise when a letter arrives announcing that Eve has come to a large inheritance. Intrigued by this surprise, for the first time since their wedding, Eve dismisses her husband’s orders to stay in England, packs an overnight bag and sets off to sunny french riviera.

On her journey to the south of France, Eve befriends a couple who will become her dear friends. Upon her arrival to her final destination, she also meets not so friendly members of Lester family, handsome American writer, a Hollywood start and many other fascinating characters. Between glamorous riviera parties and outings, Eve makes it her mission to find what connection she has to famous Guy Lester. And she is not the only one who is searching for the answers.

Fatal Inheritance” was an enjoyable virtual vacation with charming personages and interesting events. However, I was able to figure out all the twists before the explanation was revealed in the story. Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Export for a free and advanced copy of the novel.

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