The Light over London, Julia Kelly

 

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Title: The Light Over London

Author: Julia Kelly

Pages: 304

Genre: historical fiction

Is this part of a series?  No

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019

Summary:

             Cara is in the middle of a massive life overhaul.  Dealing with a messy divorce and leaving a job she never cared for, she’s back home working with antiques and spending time with Gran.  The job is one she loves- the beauty and mystery, and the ability to make sure a well loved object gets new life with someone that will treasure it.  Between work and Gran she doesn’t have time for much else, but she’s okay with that.  

When going through a house with her employer Cara finds a tin filled with odd treasures.  A movie stub, a small compass, a locket, a picture and a journal.  It calls to her and, with the family’s permission, she sets out to learn more about the woman from the journal…

Louise isn’t exactly adventurous.  Smart and serious, she keeps the accounts and works in a shop in her little Cornish village.  It has been decided that she will wait there for the solicitor’s son, Gary, to come home from the war.  They will marry, and their mothers will be happy.  It isn’t exactly the type of life she wants, but she can see no way out.  One night changes all that.  Her cousin, Kate, drags her to a dance and there’s Paul.  Handsome, sophisticated and interested in her, this RAF pilot is everything she never knew to wish for.  A whirlwind, clandestine courtship ensues.  Paul gives her strength to look into the dreams she has locked away- travel, leaving home, being useful…. maybe someday going to California.  When he is shipped out Louise makes a command decision.  She and Kate will join the war effort.  When she becomes a gunner girl in the anti aircraft gun unit she is over the moon.  She’s using her brain and making a difference.  Paul is less pleased citing the dangers… but there seems to be more to his objections.  Could it be that they don’t know each other as well as she thought?…

The more Cara reads, the deeper she needs answers about Gran’s time in the war- a time she refuses to address.  With the help of her new neighbor, Liam, she moves to uncover the secrets not only for the mystery journalist but her own family.

My thoughts:

        Kelly’s book is being likened to The Lilac girls and The Nightingale, but I was getting vibes from one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Laura Madeleine.  The attention to detail used when merging the dual timelines, the character development and easy flow of the book was reminiscent of Where the Wild Cherries Grow.  All the wonderful things about historical fiction are here- the drama of the past, intrigue, description, amazing characters.  I could not put this book down!  The writing style was magnificent and the different timelines/plot lines merged seamlessly in a way that was believable.  So often an author will allow one plot line to take the lead, leaving the other to disappear, unneeded; but here you have two strong stories.  I loved that.  For me this is a five star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

             On the adult content scale, there’s violence, language and some light sexual content.  Nothing major and I would still hand this one over to my niece.  I give it a four.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive and eARC of this book from Netgalley and Gallery books in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.  pro_reader_120

The book comes out Tuesday!  Who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Even If I fall, Abigail Johnson

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Title: Even If I Fall

Author: Abigail Johnson

Pages: 352 

Genre: YA

Is this book part of a series?  No

Publish Date: January 8th, 2019

Summary:

          One night- one action- can shatter everything.  No one knows that better than Brooke.  A boy is dead, and her brother is locked away having pled guilty.  Why?  What happened? Jason and Cal were best friends!  Part of her feels that there’s something missing- she can’t let it go.  What could have happened to come to that point?  The rest of her family is broken- her father hides in his workshop, her sister never talks and doesn’t leave the house, her mother runs from the issue- literally….. and Brooke?  She has to be the one to keep everything together.  Not just going with Mom to visit Jason, but accepting the disdain of the town that used to accept her, the hatred shown her at work… the stares.  She used to live for ice skating, wanting nothing more to make a career of it, but that was before.  How can she leave now?  The worst part?  She can’t even talk to anyone about these things- her family is too vulnerable and her only friend has no idea any of this ever even happened.  

Then she runs into Cal’s brother Heath- and he might get it.  He lost his brother, the town sees him and his family differently.  It’s wrong, the two should hate each other- her brother killed his!  And yet… through their pain, a friendship blossoms- maybe something more if they are strong enough to grab hold.   But when Brooke learns something about that night- something important- will her loyalty to her family keep her quiet, or will she help the broken boy she has grown to care for?

My thoughts:

           I felt like this book was really well done.  Brooke’s an interesting character, with her pain, loyalty and anger.  I loved watching her, even as I hated some of the things she did.  I hated some of the things she did to her best friend Maggie, though I could see her line of thought.  I felt for her and her family.  These characters are well developed and interesting, the subject of the book done with care and finesse.  So often books like this either feel too heavy. or so light as to be farcical.  This one, to me, was just right.  You need a bit of warmth, a bit of levity, but you can’t detract from the story.  You need to feel for the characters- and I did.  For me, this is a four star book.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s language and violence.  It’s not over the top and actually very well done.  While I disagree with Amazon who has marked this for ages 12+, it’s definitely geared toward teens.  Fifteen definitely, younger at parents discretion.  I give it a three.General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 1-8-19, who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield

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Title: Once Upon A River

Author: Diane Setterfield

Pages: 480

Genre: historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: December 4th, 2018

Summary:

 (From Goodreads)  A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.

My thoughts:

I finished this one a while back and have been stewing over my review.  It took me some time to figure out how I really feel about this book.  On the one hand, these characters are amazing- deep and intriguing (even the empathetic pig!)- on the other hand Setterfield couldn’t stay on one topic to save her soul and bouncing around with her made me dizzy.  I would find myself falling in love with this or that character, ready to let their story progress, only to be swept away to another place, another family.  It reminded me of when I was reading A Winter’s Tale– that author made what should have been a love story with aspects of magical realism into six love stories and a horse (thankfully, no one was in love with the horse)…. I was legitimately having PTSD here and didn’t know if I would be able to finish the book.  And yet, I was so very interested in the different characters!  I would promise myself one more page, just one, and if it doesn’t get better… done.  But I couldn’t let these characters go…. and I am glad I didn’t because in the end the different pieces came together beautifully and I enjoyed the finished result.  I also have to give Setterfield props for perfect use of magical realism- some authors try to do too much or can’t merge the magical aspects into the realistic world, but her use here was flawless.  For me this turned out to be a four star book with an extra star for creativity.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating star-709689_960_720

On the adult content scale, there was language, violence and some light sexual content.  I would give it a three.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Atria books in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.

The book comes out 12-4-18, is it on your Christmas list?

Link to book:

Amazon

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My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Christina Lauren

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Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand

Author: Christina Lauren

Pages: 384

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Is this part of a series?  As of right now, no…. but if the author were to write more stories for the other characters, I would definitely read that. *wink*

Publish Date: December 4th, 2018

Summary:

What if you haven’t found “the one” because they’re already your best friend?  Do you risk everything for love?

    Millie is one of the guys, and she’s okay with that.  She’s fun and quick with a joke, and let’s face it, her group of guy-friends are awesome.  It also keeps her from having to get too personal with anyone which, let’s face it, she sucks at.  Besides who wants to keep explaining her interest in female-serial-killers to prospective dates?  When a black tie gala makes the gang realize they might have a real problem finding dates, they decide to look to the internet for the answer.  Online dating for the win!  The guys are getting real, interesting matches and Millie’s getting (wait for it…) dick pics.  And the guys have the nerve to say that it may be because of her introduction!  

         Then there’s the fact that she may have had really hot sex with her best friend- but totally does not want to mess things up there.  It was a one time thing right?  Besides, they’re both adult enough to handle this.  Still, when Reed starts getting matched and she’s getting bozos, she decides to try something.  Enter Catherine, her online persona- more personal,  more open.  When she matches with Reed it starts as a joke, surely he’ll know it’s her right?  But he doesn’t…. and she likes who she can be as Catherine.  Can she pull herself together and decide who and what she really wants, or will Millie loose her best friends?

My thoughts:

I actually finished this one over a week ago.  I had been putting off writing a review and I don’t even know why.  For the most part, I loved this book.  In fact, I feel like we’ve have a really great batch of romances coming out recently.  I really liked Mille and Reed, I liked their chemistry- it was odd because of how different they were emotionally.  Reed is very giving, open and maybe overly warm; and Millie doesn’t do personal.  At all.  When you think about her past and how she grew up, it makes sense; but it still makes it difficult for her to be in the type of relationship Reed would want long term.  I felt for both of them here, even when they were being stupid they were lovable.  I also fell a little in love with the other guys in the group and would absolutely read their love stories if they were ever written.  One thing I found odd was that we read about Reed at work- lecturing, or doing other things- but we never actually saw Millie doing any work.  Her work is mentioned a lot, but in a more vague way.  As I consider her the main character I found that odd.  I would still give this book four and a half stars.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating2000px-Half_Star_Yellow.svg

 On the adult content scale, there’s some explicit sexual content, drinking and language.  I would give it a five.  mature audience.

        I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Gallery books in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out 12-4-18!  Are you ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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The Adults, Caroline Hulse

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Title: The Adults

Author: Caroline Hulse

Pages: 368

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Is this book part of a series?  No

Publish Date:  November 27th, 2018

Summary:

           Matt and Claire have been divorced for a long time.  But they get along alright, they both love their daughter Scarlet, and they both want time with her over the holidays.  Instead of having her see each parent individually, they decided it would be good for seven year old Scarlet to have a “normal” family Christmas with both of them…. and their significant others.

Patrick is in his forties and divorced with teenage kids that don’t have time for him.  When his girlfriend, Claire, brings up going on holiday with the ex and his new girl…. it’s a bit weird… but what has he got to lose?  Plus, they have areas to run at the campsite, archery, and ten pools.  This sounds like a great place to train for his next great achievement- an Ironman.  

Alex adores her boyfriend Matt even if his slap-dash approach to life drives her nuts sometimes.  She knows Matt hasn’t had Christmas with his daughter since the divorce, and far be it from her to keep him from doing to- even if it is in the most awkward way possible.  Besides, they’re all adults (except Scarlet and her imaginary bunny/ best friend Poppy)…. What could go wrong?

A lot.  A lot could go wrong.  Secrets will be spilled, wine drunk, bad karaoke sung,  jealousy, fights and blood.   Merry Christmas- hope everyone survives!

My thoughts:

To begin, I felt like both these couples were a complete hot mess in the beginning.    Patrick was lying to Claire about his daily habits because she was disgusted by what she considered over-exercising.  She didn’t support the fact that he wanted to be an Ironman and he didn’t really support her choices or opinions either.  It seemed like an odd match there.  Add to that the fact that he and Claire had such different feelings about Scarlet and Poppy- Patrick was ready to kick the imaginary bunny in the tail.

Alex is pretty neurotic.  She has firm ideas on…. not who she is, but who she wants to be- or at least how she wants to appear.  She can’t be the one to stop Matt from following his interests- even when they’re skateboarding (at his age!), smoking weed (at his age!) or dragging her to a holiday with his perfect ex and the daughter that hates her.  She can’t be the one to back out.

Watching the grown ups try to keep their cool during crazy situations was interesting.  Seeing how they perceived things, and how they interacted with one another.  I will say that the book was a bit of a muddle- there seemed no reason behind the changing narrator at times except to get into someone else’s head and I often felt like it didn’t move the story along.  Parts would move quickly- the very beginning for example was a huge information drop that made me feel like I had to keep up- whereas other sections went slowly.  It did gain momentum toward the middle of the book and held a good pace after that.  All in all, I liked it; but it wasn’t the best book ever.  I give it a three.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale there was drinking, drugs, language and sexual content.  I would give it a seven.  Parental Guidance

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!

The book comes out 11-27-18.  Is it on your TBR list?

Link to book:

Amazon

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New Release Tuesday! 11-13-18

Hey guys! This week I have one ARC, a book that I am on the fence about, and two books that, while not out yet, will be before next Tuesday. Let’s get to it! I cannot say enough good things about this book.  I read The Story of Arthur Truluv and adored it.  It was gorgeously written and I loved the characters, but it left me a bit unsatisfied.  I wasn’t ready to let go of the other characters.  How is Maddy after the events of the book?  And Lucille?  This book answers those questions, breathing life into these characters and letting you know them better, while introducing even more colorful characters.  I am seriously author-crushing on Berg right now.  Is that even a thing?  Who cares!  Go get the book!! Look alive twenty five
Let’s be real here.  I am a fan of Evanovich.  Her characters are just a hell of a lot of fun!  That said, I have been gravitating more toward the Knight and Moon series, and Lizzie and Diesel than this one.  It just got to be too much- too much sexual drama, too much ineptitude, too many references to Lula’s former profession…. it became a culmination of bit jokes.  Do I still enjoy them?  Yes, they’re my dirty secret.  But they aren’t ones I re-read, so do I need to OWN it?  That said, it’s release day and I am #149 in line at my library for the eBook version.  God knows I have other books (both bought and ARC’s) to read until I get my mitts on it…. but I have never been one for waiting.  What do you guys think?  Buy or borrow?
Now then, there are two that actually come out Friday.  I still want them here because they are this week’s new releases. FB the crimes of...I am so ready for this one!  Seriously, I pre-ordered it and may freak out and set an alarm super early so I can read before work.  I loved Fantastic Beasts and am dying to see what Rowling does with this one.  That, and I am going to see this in theaters so I have to be ready.  I’m so excited!!! Blurb from Goodreads: At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.   a ladder to the skyBoyne is the author of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and he’s back with a book that just sounds amazing.  I missed out on the ARC when First to Read was offering and I am still kicking myself.  Of coarse I pre-ordered this one too.  I am just going to leave the blurb from Goodreads here: Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for success. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent – but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own. Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.  Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall… So that’s me for the week.  Have I missed any?  Which one are you most excited for? new sign off

Night of Miracles, Elizabeth Berg

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Title: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Is this part of a series?  Yes!  Book two of the Arthur Truluv series.  Be sure to read book one first- it’s pretty crucial.

Publish Date: November 13th, 2018

Summary:

Lucille Howard may be getting on in years, but she refuses to slow down.  Who has time?!?  There are baking classes to teach!  Her classes are so wildly popular she has to hire new-comer Iris as an assistant.

Then, when tragedy strikes next door, there’s a little boy that needs her.  Lincoln’s parents face hard choices, as do many of the Mason residents.  Can she bring her town together and help them through everything?

My thoughts:

I was obsessed with The Story of Arthur Truluv, Elizabeth Berg  when I read it.  I loved the writing style, the characters and their interactions, the premise…. it floored me.  It also left me unwilling to leave- I wanted more!  What happens next?  How is Lucille holding up?  What happens to Maddy?  These characters needed more time!

And here we have exactly that.  Years after book one, we see Lucille again.  Cranky and cantankerous- willing to fight even death for more time.  We see Maddy as a young mother.  We see who they are now and how knowing Arthur shaped them.  We also meet a lot of fantastic new characters that I personally love.  This book has the gorgeous writing I remember, the deep-set emotions, the great characters…. so often the “what came next” book is messy and rushed- just a device to tie things together.  Not here.  You can read this, and love it all it’s own- it carries it’s own weight.  But having seen how certain characters meet, and knowing references to old characters, made this one more fulfilling to me.  All in all this is a five star book for me.  normal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star ratingnormal star rating

On the adult content scale, there’s some language, and some drinking.  That’s about it.  I give it a two.  General.svg

I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks!  pro_reader_120

The book comes out tomorrow!  Who’s ready?!?

Link to book:

Amazon

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