Always With a Book

Friday, August 14, 2020

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Earlier this month, Ellen Feldman's latest novel, Paris Never Leaves You, was published. I'm so happy to be participating on the blog tour for this book and am excited to be able to host a giveaway for one lucky reader.

I just finished reading the book and posted my review earlier today - you can find my review here.  

Read on to see what others have to say and then be sure to enter the giveaway below!!!

Title: Paris Never Leaves You
Author: Ellen Feldman
Published: August 2020, St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback, 368 pages

Living through WWII working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past.

Praise for Paris Never Leaves You:

“A memorable, thought-provoking moral conflict, and dialogue [that] crackles like a duel… Paris Never Leaves You succeeds as a meaty moral tale.” —Historical Novel Society

“Fans of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale may want to pick this up.” —Booklist 

“Nothing is quite what it seems… Wartime Paris is described in vivid, sometimes harrowing, detail… [An] engrossing page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best works of historical fiction have a way of illuminating the present, allowing readers to better understand themselves through well-defined characters reflected in the prism of time…. Feldman does this beautifully in a multi-layered, tender story that explores the emotionally charged, often parallel terrains of truth, deception, love and heartbreak.” —Shelf Awareness

“A nuanced WWII story of love and survival in Occupied Paris… With its appealing heroine and historically detailed settings… a dangerous secret gives Feldman’s story a gasp-worthy spin.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Things are seldom as they seem in this engrossing tale of identity, survival, loyalty, and love…Recommend with enthusiasm.” —Library Journal

“Ellen Feldman’s writing is riveting in this beautiful novel that tells the bittersweet story of a young mother’s strength and survival during WWII. From a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris to a post-war New York publishing house, Feldman effortlessly captures the terror, immediacy, and inextinguishable human spirit.” —Noelle Salazar, author of The Flight Girls 

“Completely compelling. I tore through it. This novel pivots on how we manage to survive surviving… Charlotte’s visceral story will stay with me.” —Naomi Wood, New York Times best-selling author of Mrs. Hemingway and The Hiding Game

“Feldman’s powerful exploration of some of the most profound questions about love and loyalty resonates strongly today: What would you do to save your child? What is morality in wartime? How do we make peace with the past?” —Christina Lynch, author of The Italian Party

“This is an exquisite novel – one that gives us what we’re hungry for: an intelligent, complex female character who challenges our ideas of right and wrong, morality and immorality. We’re reminded, too, of the dangers of drawing easy, swift conclusions. Feldman achieves all of this with wholly admirable precision and wit; she takes aim and does not miss.” —Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love and All the Beautiful Girls

“A fluid, rich, and nuanced novel, expertly crafted, guaranteed to follow you around long after you’ve turned the last page. I gulped it down.” —Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra, Vera, The Witches, and A Great Improvisation 

“Feldman’s characters—in the Paris bookstore that harbors many secrets or the Manhattan publishing house with its marvelous cast of misfits—are both terrifying and utterly engaging. With more twists and turns than the back streets of Paris, the story is as propulsively readable as a spy novel, and as rich and psychologically rewarding as only the finest literature can be.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, author of Local Knowledge and Bleeding Heart

“…a vivid and precise portrait of that city under German occupation during the Second World War, but it is also an exploration of the courage and cowardice of those bitter years, as well as offering a slyly persuasive love story. The swift, engrossing narrative conceals, in the best way, the fact that Feldman is also giving us a wise and troubling lesson about the great moral crisis of the last century.” —Richard Snow, author of Iron Dawn

“A thrilling achievement…I was thoroughly drawn into a deep, rich, vivid world of engrossing characters and emotional and moral crises…a great piece of writing in every way.” —Fred Allen, Leadership Editor, Forbes


Giveaway Details -- (US or Canada only) Thanks to the publisher, one reader will win a paperback copy of Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by August 19th.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only and ends August 19th.

Good Luck!!!   

Blog Tour & Review: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Today, I'm so happy to be a tour stop on the blog tour for Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman. Thank you St. Martin's Griffin for inviting me to participate.

Title: Paris Never Leaves You
Author: Ellen Feldman
Published: August 2020, St. Martin's Griffin
Format: ARC E-copy, 368 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

Living through WWII working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Ellen Feldman but it certainly will not be the last. I've been on a great streak with historical fiction lately and this one can definitely be be added to that list.

I loved the way this book is crafted. It's told in two timelines, both narrated by the same character. While it does start off a little slow, I did find myself eventually becoming completely invested in Charlotte's story. I loved that she worked in publishing - that part of her life completely grabbed me, but I also was equally intrigued by her life in Paris during the war.

This book is all about secrets and what happens when they finally come out. It also centers on survivor's guilt. Charlotte survived the war and all that happened but it wasn't an easy time and there are choices she had to make under less that ideal circumstances that she has never told anyone. But now it has come time to reveal what really happened.

I enjoyed this story. I loved the relationships the characters had with each other - I found those to be real and relatable. The connections they had were what made this story so engaging.

***Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win a copy of this book later on today!!! 

About the author: ELLEN FELDMAN, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Terrible Virture, The Unwitting, Next to Love, Scottsboro (shortlisted for the Orange Prize), The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (translated into nine languages), and Lucy. Her novel Terrible Virtue was optioned by Black Bicycle for a feature film.


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Title: What You Wish For
Author: Katherine Center
Published: July 2020, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living. But she wasn’t always that way.

Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen. But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

My thoughts: Katherine Center has been a favorite author of mine for a while. I had read quite a few of her earlier books and then I hadn't read anything by her for a while, until her most recent releases...and for the life of me I can't figure out why I stopped reading her. She creates such real, relatable characters and is able to infuse humor into her stories at just the right time while still giving us little moments of truth.

I enjoyed this book as much as I expected I would. I adored Sam. I loved her quirkiness and the fact that she was a librarian in an elementary just warmed my heart. While she is not happy with the changes that occur in her school, I could not end up hoping, and guessing where the story was heading and while it did ultimately get there, the journey is what I always enjoy the most. And let me tell you, this journey is full of life. 

At its core, this book is about looking for joy even when all is not well. It's such a fantastic lesson, one that we could all use right now. 2020 has been quite the year for all of us and this book really puts things into perspective. Both Sam and Duncan have had things happen in their pasts that have impacted their life and they need to address this in order to move forward both for themselves and for each other.

Katherine Center is definitely an author I know I can count on. Her books all have little bits of wisdom peppered throughout and leave you with food for thought along with a great story to get lost in and I can't recommend them enough! If you haven't picked this one up yet, I definitely encourage you to do so!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Blog Tour & Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

Today, I'm so happy to be a tour stop on the blog tour for the The Night Swim by Megan Goldin. Thank you St. Martin's Press for inviting me to participate.

Title: The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Published: August 2020, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

In this new thriller from the author of The Escape Room, a podcast host covering a controversial trial in a small town becomes obsessed with a brutal crime that took place there years before.

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

My thoughts: Last year I read, and loved, The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I knew I would be reading more from this author, so I was thrilled to be invited to be on tour for THe Night Swim and let me just say...this book is another winner! 

I loved the way this book was crafted. The use of the podcast, the courtroom case - it all comes together to create such a thrilling, edge of your seat story that really kept me engaged and captivated all the way through. There were times were I really wanted to skip ahead and just keep reading all the podcast chapters - I was so enthralled with those parts, but I also loved the sections where Rachel was investigating into the older case involving what really happened to Jenny. There was really no part of this book - and there are a lot of moving parts to this book - that I was not interested in.

I loved the intensity of this book and how I could not see which way the court case would go. I also loved the intensity of the mystery surrounding Jenny's death and how this small town became even smaller as Rachel began digging into things. That's the beauty and the curse of a small town.

I wouldn't classify this as a fast-paced thriller, but more of a slow-burner, but it's one that certainly gets under your skin and totally consumes you. I could think of nothing else while I was reading it. And while this is a tough read based on the subject, I do think it would make a great bookclub pick as there is so much to discuss. I definitely recommend picking this one up and I for sure will be putting Megan Goldin on my must-read list.

About the author:  MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. The Escape Room was her debut novel.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Instagram |   Goodreads  

Buy Links:

Review: Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan

Title: Family for Beginners
Author: Sarah Morgan
Published: May 2020, HQN Books
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher

New York florist Flora Donovan is living the dream, but her bubbly optimism hides a secret. She’s lonely. Orphaned as a child, she’s never felt like she’s belonged anywhere…until she meets Jack Parker. He’s the first man to ever really see her, and it’s life changing.

Teenager Izzy Parker is holding it together by her fingertips. Since her mother passed away a year ago, looking after her dad and little sister is the only thing that makes Izzy feel safe. Discovering her father has a new girlfriend is her worst nightmare—she is not in the market for a replacement mom. Then her father invites Flora on their summer vacation…

Flora’s heart aches for Izzy, but she badly wants her relationship with Jack to work. As the summer unfolds, Flora must push her own boundaries to discover parts of herself she never knew existed—and to find the family she’s always wanted.

My thoughts: I have really come to enjoy reading Sarah Morgan's books and this latest one is no exception. She just has a knack for writing about the intricacies of relationships, whether it be love relationships, family relationships, family dynamics or what have you. She gives you a story you can sink your teeth into and characters you just can't help falling in love with.

This latest story is all about loss, grief and new beginnings. I immediately felt at home with these characters and loved how easy it was to want only the best for them. These characters will quickly steal your heart and as you learn their stories, you will feel the same. Yes, they might frustrate you at times, but I think that's just par for the course with all characters. I loved that this book takes us on such an emotional ride as we go on this journey with Flora and Izzy as they navigate their new world after loss and try to find acceptance as changes start happening around them.

I love that Sarah Morgan's books always have such endearing, charming moments but they also have these poignant moments, too. And there are even quite a few aha moments - points where I find myself pausing to reflect on my own life. 

I really enjoyed this story and definitely recommend picking it up. It's a great summer read that fans of women's fiction will certainly enjoy. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Blog Tour & Review: Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

Today, I'm so happy to be a tour stop on the blog tour for the Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks. Thank you MIRA for inviting me to participate. 

Title: Lies Lies Lies
Author: Adele Parks
Published: August 2020, MIRA
Format: ARC E-copy, 384 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

Daisy and Simon’s marriage isn’t what it seems…

After years together, the arrival of longed-for daughter Millie sealed everything in place. They’re a happy little family of three.

So what if Simon drinks a bit too much sometimes—Daisy’s used to it. She knows he’s just letting off steam. Until one night at a party things spiral horribly out of control. And their happy little family of three will never be the same again.

In Lies, Lies, Lies, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author Adele Parks explores the darkest corners of a relationship in free fall in a mesmerizing tale of marriage and secrets.

My thoughts: Last year, I read I Invited Her In by Adele Parks and loved it. I knew I would be reading more from this author, so I was thrilled to be invited to be on tour for Lies Lies Lies and let me just say...this book also delivers on the psychological thriller front! 

When a title involves the word lies, you know you going to be in for some secrets but I was not expecting the magnitude of what we get here. This book takes us on quite a ride and I loved every minute of it. It's dark and it has characters that you love to hate - my favorite kind!!! - but it's also the type of book that you just cannot walk away from. I was glued to the pages, wondering just where things were heading. I had my guesses but I never got to where it ultimately ended up.

The book is told from alternating perspectives of Daisy and Simon, who are married, and it is so addicting. The first part of the book sets things up and then the second part is where the lies just start coming out left and right. This is the type of book that you are going to need to make sure you have a huge chunk of time for because once you start reading it, you are not going to want to put it down. 

I love reading books about flawed characters and this one has that in spades. As I already mentioned it has characters you love to hate and I always find that so appealing. Do they have any redeeming qualities? Perhaps but those qualities are few and far between. What's interesting to note here is that it's not our female character that is the alcoholic but the male character...that's quite the spin on what we are used to and I loved that.

This book took me on quite a ride and the surprises kept coming right up until the very end. It grabs hold of you and never really lets up and I always love books like that. There really never was a lull in this book. I definitely recommend picking this one up and I know that I will be checking out Adele Parks back list while waiting to see what comes next from this very talented writer!

About the author: Adele Parks was born in Teesside, North-East England. Her first novel, Playing Away, was published in 2000 and since then she's had seventeen international bestsellers, translated into twenty-six languages, including I Invited Her In. She's been an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and a judge for the Costa. She's lived in Italy, Botswana and London, and is now settled in Guildford, Surrey, with her husband, teenage son and cat.
 Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook  |   Instagram |   Goodreads  

Buy Links: 


Short & Sweet Review: The First Lady by James Patterson

Title: The First Lady
Author: James Patterson
Published: March 2019, Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Personal copy

From the world's #1 bestselling writer comes a book that takes politics and mixes it with suspense creating a must-read thriller.

Sally Grissom is a top secret service agent in charge of the Presidential Protection team. She knows that something is amiss when she is summoned to a private meeting with the President and his Chief of Staff without any witnesses. But she couldn't have predicted that she'd be forced to take on an investigation surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the First Lady with strict orders to keep it a secret. 

The First Lady's absence comes in the wake of the scandalous, public revelation of the president's affair, so at first it seems as though she is simply cutting off all contact as she recuperates at a horse farm in Virginia. What begins as an innocent respite quickly reveals itself as a twisted case when the White House receives a ransom note along with the First Lady's finger. As Sally races against the clock to save the First Lady, she discovers evidence that leads to a troubling conclusion: could the First Lady's abductors come from inside the White House?

***Short & Sweet Reviews are short, quick reviews. These will mainly be used for series books where I have already done full reviews on some of the earlier books or for books that I feel will suffice with a quick review. These will not be used for review requests or blog tours.

My thoughts: As I've said before and will say again, I love my James Patterson books, but I've come to realize that they can be hit or miss and when it comes to political thrillers, those are also hit or miss with me. Luckily this one kept me engaged for the most part, but I think that was because I really liked the main female protagonist. She wasn't one for taking anyone's crap and she quickly realized who she could trust and who she couldn't. I love when we see a female lead in what is typically a man's world and that is exactly what Sally Grissom is. I also loved that we see her fighting her own personal battles. She is one tough cookie and I would love to see her in another book or two!

All in all, this was a pretty good book with the usual twists and turns that I've come to expect from a Patterson story and non-stop action. I was able to get through it in an afternoon as I just could not find a place to stop and needed to see just how it was all going to play out.

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