Friday, June 28, 2019

BookExpo: Day 4 (Friday): The Last Day!


Today is the final day of BookExpo...it was 2 and a half days on the floor and let me tell you, as much as I love this event, it's exhausting! It's very busy and non-stop, but in a good way. I always leave this event feeling energized and recharged about reading and blogging, and I'm so excited about all the new books coming up that I cannot wait to share with all of you!

Morning pow wow sessions have become something of a ritual each morning before the floor opens. We all sit down, go over what we have planned for the day and just chat about what we are most excited for, and glance through the PW Show Daily.  It's so busy when we get on the floor, it's nice to be able to have this time to chat and go over what's already happened and what can be expected.
 


Today, my schedule was pretty light...I had a few galley drops and a few signings I wanted to get to, and then I just had some meetings with publicists. Then I had some free time until my most favorite event, which I'll talk about a bit later.
Some of the authors I got to see/meet over the course of the three days include: Liz Fenton & Lisa Stenke, Fiona Davis, Riley Sager, Julie Satow, William Kent Krueger, Elin Hilderbrand, Mary Beth Keene, Teresa Sorkin & Tullan Holmqvist. 


  The big event of the day was the Book Group Speed Dating Event that I go to every year. This is one of my favorite events - definitely a highlight of the show. What happens is that different publishers go around the room chatting about their upcoming books. So we, the attendees get to stay at our tables and they come to us. We were all assigned a table and every 9 or 10 minutes, the publishers switch tables. I think this year, 8 publishers came to my table. And at each table are stacks of some of the books that were presented that we were free to take. Most of the books talked about were all geared towards book clubs - and they all sounded so good! 

I've attended this event every year and it is a must for me...it's so well organized and I just love getting the personal pitch from the publicists. Some years I walk away with only a few books and some years I walk away with a ton...each year it's different, but it's always worth attending. 






For our last night in NYC, Tamara and I headed to one of our favorite spots for dinner. We have gone to Gotham Market West almost every year we've been attending BookExpo and are never disappointed with the food. 




And so ends another fun and successful BookExpo trip...with plans made to attend #BookExpo2020, provided bloggers are invited. 


So here is a final picture of all the books I picked up at BookExpo during the 3 days. It's a good mix of  thrillers and historical fiction with some true crime thrown in, which is my newest obsession. I was super selective with the books I picked up and I know that I have some really good reading coming my way...I can't wait to share my thoughts on these with you as soon as I get to them!!! And if you follow me on Instagram (@k2reader), I've been spotlighting each book individually. 




* And in case you missed it: 



Until my next bookish adventure...which will be in October when I head to Bouchercon 2019!!! Let me know if you've been before - this is my 1st time attending and I'm both excited and nervous!


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Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager


Title: Lock Every Door
Author: Riley Sager
Published: July 2019, Dutton
Format: ARC Paperback, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

Summary: 
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen's new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid's disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building's hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.



My thoughts: It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been here before that I am a huge Riley Sager fan. I have read his previous two books and loved them, so of course I was stoked to get my hands on an early copy of his latest release...and not only that...I got to meet him at BookExpo this year and get a signed copy of this new release!!! Yes, I am super pumped about that!!!

I have to say, this newest book is hands down my new favorite, and maybe I say that after each new book because quite possibly Sager's books just get better and better, but let me just tell you, I read this book in 2 sittings. I started it Saturday night and finished it Sunday morning - and I was completely obsessed with it. 

I loved the creepy, gothic-like vibes that we get from the mysterious Bartholomew and I think this is totally what pulled me in - this setting definitely made the book for me. It's totally not what you would expect from a prestigious apartment building. Based on the gorgeous descriptions, you wouldn't expect anything sinister to go on there. Sager does such a fantastic job of mixing in a few curious details to cast doubt, leaving you to wonder if they are really happening or if it's all in your head.

I was completely drawn into this book from the first page and it never let up. The creep factor is definitely there right from the start and continues to build all the way through. I loved the format of the story - the snippet of "now" and then a countdown of the week prior. Knowing just a tiny bit of what happens at the end, is enough to make you know something seriously dark and sinister is going on. It had me flipping those pages frantically - I had to know what had happened and I had to get there fast! I had some theories as to where this book was heading, but never in my wildest dreams did I guess where it ultimately ended...and I loved it. This ending was fantastic!!! It was original and unique and I loved every minute of it...and now I'm so sad that it's over.

If this book isn't on your summer reading list, you need to change that. It comes out July 2nd, so if you haven't already pre-ordered it or requested it from the library, you still have time...or mark it on your calendar to head to the book store on Tuesday to pick this one up... you won't regret it. 






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Thursday, June 27, 2019

BookExpo: Day 3 (Thursday) The 1st Full Day



Today, the floor was open all day and I had quite a full day planned. I got to the Javits Center bright and early, grabbed the Publisher's Weekly Show Daily as I walked in the building and as I was standing on line to drop off my suitcase at the baggage drop, noticed my name on the front page...my little interview from the day before made it into the article and I was the first one quoted!!! I was pretty excited to say the least :)



On of my favorite things to do is to get in line early enough each morning to have time to peruse the PW Show Daily. This allows you to see if there are any updates to the author signings or galley drops that are happening that day. Plus there really are some good articles about some of the featured authors and the book industry in general. Sonica from The Reading Beauty and Candice from Magnolia Reads joined me in line and we had a great time discussing the previous day as well as talking about that day's game plan.


 
I had a mix of galley drops and book signings and so the day was a blur of running from booth to autographing tables where I would have to wait in lines. But, in the middle of all that, I did get to see Adam Rippon for a few minutes during his panel where he spoke about his upcoming new book, BEAUTIFUL ON THE OUTSIDE. I've already added this one to my list to read!!!


And of course, I had to walk by the Hachette booth when my favorite author, James Patterson was there signing with his wife. I didn't stand in that line to get a book from him, just seeing him was enough this time!



I did get to meet Riley Sager - and get a signed copy of his upcoming new book, LOCK EVERY DOOR. I'm a huge Riley Sager fan and I was so excited to meet him. This was my most anticipated signing and it was worth the long line.



And of course, it isn't a BookExpo without getting the new Elin Hilderbrand book and a Corona - this is one of my most favorite book signings of the whole three days...and while it is usually the last signing on Friday, it was moved to Thursday this year. But it was perfect for me because it was such a long, busy day and that icy, cold beer hit the spot!



One of the best parts about this year, was that there happened to be a great big group of us bloggers/Bookstagrammers that all happened to have similar reading tastes and we all happened to end up in the same lines at the same times. This made being in those lines so much fun...there was laughing and chatting and picture taking and book swapping and that long line went by in a snap and friendships that started out via the web have now been cemented in real life.


On top of all the books I got, I still managed to meet up with a few publishers/publicists that I work with and that is one of that things I cherish most about coming to BookExpo.  Getting to meet in person the publisher/publicists that I email back and forth with and that send me books to read and review on my blog is just so amazing. I love being able to thank them in person and just chat with them about books and ways we can work together to promote the books and authors we all have a passion for. This is why I love attending this event!!!


Boy, this was a busy day...and there was still another full day to go! 
 

 
. . Stayed tuned for a recap of  Day 4! 



* And in case you missed it:

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Review: The Dead Girl in 2A by Carter Wilson


Title: The Dead Girl in 2A
Author: Carter Wilson
Published: July 2019, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: ARC E-copy, 334 pages
Source: Netgalley via Publisher

Summary: 
Jake Buchannan knows the woman sitting next to him on his business flight to Denver—he just can’t figure out how he knows her. Clara Stowe isn’t in Jake’s line of work and didn’t go to college with him. They have nearly nothing in common apart from a deep and shared certainty that they’ve met before. Despite their best efforts over a probing conversation, both struggle to figure out what circumstances could possibly have brought them together. Then, in a revelation that sends Jake reeling, Clara admits she’s traveling to the Colorado mountains to kill herself, and disappears into the crowded airport immediately after landing.

The Dead Girl in 2A is the story of what happens to Jake and Clara after they get off that plane, and the manipulative figure who has brought them together decades after they first met.




My thoughts: I first discovered Carter Wilson when I read Mister Tender's Girl last year, which I absolutely loved!!! I knew after reading that one, that I would be reading anything he wrote and so as soon as I saw he had a new book coming out, I requested it on Netgalley and I was not disappointed. It's different than his last book, but I loved the uniqueness of this one.

This book kept me glued to the pages, intrigued as to what was going on right from the start. This psychological thriller will really keep you guessing, and at times get under your skin. It really is quite a puzzle. I'm always fascinated when an author explores memory loss and the way Carter Wilson uses it in this book is really quite clever - almost in a sci-fi way that is quite scary. When you add in manipulation and anguish, it's hard to not be sucked in to the story.

The characters were well drawn and I loved that way it alternated between Jake and Clara's point's of view. Both are deeply flawed characters and you can't help but want to know as much as possible about them to know how they got themselves into the situations they are in. 

The deeper I got into this story, the more invested I became with the characters. I couldn't stop thinking about them and couldn't stop coming up with theories about what was going to happen. Of course, I never guessed what ultimately happened - but let me tell you, it was the best reveal possible at just the right time. The tension had been building all along and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it and it was so good!

I love Carter Wilson's writing and now, as I wait for whatever comes next from him, I need to read his earlier books. This guy has a cleverly wicked, devious mind and it is wildly entertaining and thrilling. Have you read any of his books yet?


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

BookExpo: Day 2 (Wednesday) The Floor Opens Mid-day




Once again, BookExpo was changing things up! This year, the show was 2 and a half days, meaning the floor was opening on Wednesday at noon. It's been different every year I've attended and so I never really know what to expect and I guess that's part of the fun of it! But, I had my schedule ready to go, though of course, part of the fun of this show is being prepared for the unexpected and that always happens!



Since the show wasn't opening until noon, it was a more relaxed morning. I still wanted to get over to the Javits Center a bit early, though no where near as early as I would be heading over the next two days. I got to the Javits Center around 10, got my badge and was surprised to see there was already a line at one of the entrances. 

Even though it was only 10am, there was already quite a line to get into the floor. I had a meeting with a publicist right at noon, but I also wanted to grab a galley they were dropping right at the same time, so as much as I didn't want to get on line, I felt I needed to before the line got any worse. While standing there, a man from Publisher's Weekly Magazine came around and was asking a few people some questions. He was putting together an article for the next day's magazine.

While I was waiting in line, I met up with Jamie, a fellow #bookstagrammer and then Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke came over to us. Standing in line is great for chatting with and meeting all sorts of people! I even ended up getting a copy of Liz and Lisa's book right there and then - they are just the best!!!



The one event I usually attend on the first day is the Adult Book Editor's Buzz Panel. This session is always mobbed, but I so enjoy listening to this presentation. Six books are presented by editors from their respective publishing houses and while I only had four of these books on my list, it was really interesting hearing them tell why they were so passionate about the books. Here are all the books that were presented at the session...I'm sure you will be seeing lots about these books in the coming weeks and months:



  • How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones, Simon & Schuster, Publication Date: October 2019
  • My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, William Morrow, Publication Date: January 2020
  • The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, Knopf, Publication Date: September 2019
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Putnam, Publication Date: January 2020
  • Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener, MCD/FSG, Publication Date: January 2020
  • The Warehouse by Rob Hart, Crown, Publication Date: August 2019

After the panel, there was once again mass chaos as galleys of the books were put out...on two tables against the wall just outside the room. It was like a stampede trying to get to the books and then if you were lucky enough to make it up to the table, you found yourself trapped there for a while...so that's when you just started handing books out overhead...MASS CHAOS!!! But, I got my four books and I was happy! This would allow me to not have to stand in line for a book signing or galley drop to get these books over the next two days.





After the floor closed, I met up with Tamara back at the hotel where we quickly got ready to head out to The Liberty NYC where Suzy from Suzy Approved Book Tours had organized another amazing gathering of book bloggers, bookstagrammers and authors. It was so much fun to be able to mingle and chat with everyone in a relaxed, intimate setting. Suzy puts so much work into this party and does not go unnoticed. 





... Stay tuned for a recap of Day 3!


*And in case you missed it:


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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BookExpo: Day 1 (Tuesday) Sightseeing in NYC


The last week in May, I spent the week in NYC for BookExpo!!! It's the one week I splurge a whole week in the city...and I love every minute of it! This was my 6thyear attending BookExpo - I went in 2014, 2015, skipped 2016 when it moved to Chicago, attended in 2017, 2018 and now was back to attend in 2019.

I was once again rooming with my blogging friend Tamara from Traveling With T and was excited to see her in person and catch up. It seems that BookExpo is the only time we get to see each other in person, though we chat virtually all the time and occasionally on the phone.

I got to the city bright and early Tuesday morning - my husband takes the early train, so I went in with him and luckily when I got to the hotel at I was staying at, the room was ready, so I was able to check-in even though it was only 6:30am. I had time before Tamara arrived, so after unpacking and having breakfast at the hotel, I decided to do some sightseeing on my own.

I love NYC and love just wandering around. There are so many spots I haven't been to in years, and this time, I had a few places in mind I wanted to see - and the first place was Grand Central Terminal. After reading Fiona Davis's last book, THE MASTERPIECE, which is set in Grand Central Terminal, I knew I had to go there again. 






From there, I headed over to Bryant Park to sit and enjoy a caffeine break and sneak in a little reading. It had started to rain and luckily the tables had the umbrellas up. I was hoping it was just going to be a passing shower, but no such luck. So I decided to jump on the subway and head down to the Hudson Yards where I was able to just walk around the new mall until Tamara arrived at the hotel which was only a block from there.



Once she got settled, we headed back to the Hudson Yards Mall where we grabbed a bite to eat and then did a little window shopping. That mall is something else with all the high end shops in it! We then got tickets to explore the Vessel - which is an incredibly interesting sculpture that stands in front of the Hudson Yards Mall. We didn't walk all the way to the top, but we did walk up a few flights.

From there, we walked a bit of the High Line...I love walking this and try to do so each time I'm in the city!

...Stay tuned for a recap of Day 2!
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Short & Sweet Review: Chase by James Patterson


Title: Chase
Author: James Patterson
Series: Michael Patterson, #9.5
Published: August 2016, BookShots
Format: Paperback, 115 pages
Source: Personal copy

Summary: 
"This was no suicide," says Detective Michael Bennett.

A man plunges to his death from the roof of a Manhattan hotel. It looks like a suicide--except the victim has someone else's fingerprints and $10,000 in cash. Enter Detective Michael Bennett.



***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:  I love these little BookShots that James Patterson has added to his repertoire and I love that he has brought them into just about all his series. They provide a nice little break from the full-length novels. Not that there is anything wrong with those, but every once in a while, it's nice to just have a book that is all action and not bogged down with the details. And that is exactly what we have here...a book that gets straight into the action, doesn't take time to fill in any backstory, and focuses completely on the one case. That's it.

The case itself was quite a mystery for our beloved detective. It seemed to take him quite a while to figure out just what was going on, but then it wrapped up rather quickly. The one thing I did miss though in this short novella was all his interactions with his family...that's why I love this series so much. So as much as I like the brevity of these BookShots, I do love the full-length novels a bit better.




Books in this series:
     1.  Step on a Crack
     2.  Run For Your Life
     3.  Worst Case
     4.  Tick Tock
     5.  I, Michael Bennett
     6.  Gone
     7.  Burn
     8.  Alert
     9.  Bullseye
     9.5  Chase
     10.  Haunted
     10.5  Manhunt
     11.  Ambush  
     12.  Blindside - due out Feb 2020
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Monday, June 24, 2019

Review: This Is Home by Lisa Duffy (audio)


Title: This Is Home
Author: Lisa Duffy
Narrator: Renata Friedman, Emily Woo Zeller
Published: June 2019, Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 8 hours 29 minutes
Source: Publisher

Summary:
From the author of book club favorite The Salt House comes a deeply affecting novel about a teenage girl finding her voice and the military wife who moves in downstairs, united in their search for the true meaning of home.  

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

With gorgeous prose and a cast of characters that feel wholly real and lovably flawed, This Is Home is a nuanced and moving novel of finding where we belong.


 
My thoughts:  A few years ago, I read, and loved, Lisa Duffy's debut novel, The Salt House. I knew then that she would be an author who I would continue to read and so it was a no-brainer that I picked this one up. And as with her previous book, this latest one is just as powerful, emotional and hopeful.

I loved the way this story was told, alternating between Libby and Quinn's point of views. I think these two characters were the perfect voices to tell this story, and while we do meet a whole cast of other characters, it is these two that really are trying to figure out just what their "home" is right now. Lisa Duffy certainly has a knack for creating these characters that have a way of worming their way into your heart, and you just can't help becoming their biggest cheerleader. As for the other characters, they provide a well-rounded cast, some that you love, some you like and some you just want to shake some sense into, but they were all so relatable and the relationships amongst them all felt real.

This book touches upon a lot of heavy topics - PTSD, addiction, loss and grief - to name a few. Yes, there are definitely some tough parts to read, as well as some sad parts, but there is also just as much laughter and humor thrown in the mix. You will come to care about these characters as you read this book, and you will find yourself wanting to do something if you know of anyone going through anything like this...it almost can't be helped. 

This is the kind of book that stays with you long after you have finished it and I know that I will be recommending it to everyone I know. If you haven't read anything by Lisa Duffy yet, you need to fix that...she is definitely an author not to be missed!


Audio thoughts: I listened to this book and loved every minute of it. I thought both narrators did a fantastic job. The pacing was just right and they each infused just the right amount of emotion into their voice as needed. This really did get quite heavy at times, yet I felt both narrators handled it quite well.  
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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Review: Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand (audio)


Title: Summer of '69
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Published: June 2019, Hachette Audio / Little, Brown & Company
Length: 13 hours 34 minutes / 432 pages
Source: Audio - via Hachette Audio via Libro.fm   / Print - via Little Brown & Company

Summary:
Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer.
   
Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother's historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha's Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.

In her first "historical novel," rich with the details of an era that shaped both a country and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again proves her title as queen of the summer novel.


 
My thoughts: To me, there is nothing that indicates the start of the summer season better than having a new Elin Hilderbrand book in hand!!! Once again I was able to see her at this year's Book Expo where she was signing copies of her latest book and handing out a beer - I have not missed this signing once in all the years I've been attending Book Expo and I adore getting to see Elin as much as I enjoy that beer at the end of a long day!

I have been reading Elin's books for a long time, and I loved that this year, she did something different. This year, she wrote her first "historical novel" and let me just tell you - I loved it!!! I loved that she still stayed true to her roots, having the book set on her beloved Nantucket, but she took a time in history and made it come alive. Her characters, as always, are so richly drawn, and this time, she uses the events that happened that summer - Vietnam, the landing on the moon and the Chappaquiddick incident. 

The Levin Family is made up of memorable, endearing family members. They are all struggling this summer and I loved that we heard from each of them. This was such a tumultuous time in history, especially for women's rights and I loved that Elin used that in her book. Each of the Levin women struggled with something and took a stand for what they believed in. It couldn't have been easy for them to stand up for themselves, standing up against societal norms, but they did it and I applauded them all the way!

This was such an engaging read, filled with family secrets and a simpler life (no social media, cell phones, etc) that is still somehow just as complicated. I felt that I was equally invested everyone's story and I actually loved the ending - no spoilers here, but I think it was just right. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this book, but even if there isn't, I think it ended on just the right note.


Audio thoughts: Once again, Erin Bennett has nailed an Elin Hilderbrand book. She really gets the nuances of Elin's characters and her writing so that the narration and storytelling just comes naturally. Erin gives each character their own unique voices and personality and her intonation and pacing is spot on. I enjoy listening to Elin's books on audio and Erin Bennett did a good job bringing this story to life!

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Friday, June 21, 2019

Blog Tour & Review: The Summer Country by Lauren Willig (audio)


Title: The Summer Country
Author: Lauren Willig
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Published: June 2019, Harper Audio / William Morrow
Length:  16 hours 21 minutes / 480 pages
Source:  Audio - Personal copy via Audible / Print - Hardcover via TLC Book Tours

Summary: 
The New York Times bestselling historical novelist delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping, dramatic Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

1854. From Bristol to Barbados. . . .

Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous merchant clan—merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day. But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheiritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins? Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills—so eager that they invite Emily and her cousins to stay with them indefinitely? Emily finds herself bewitched by the beauty of the island even as she’s drawn into the personalities and politics of forty years before: a tangled history of clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

When family secrets begin to unravel and the harsh truth of history becomes more and more plain, Emily must challenge everything she thought she knew about her family, their legacy . . . and herself.



My thoughts: I adore family sagas and I love Lauren Willig's writing, so of course I jumped at the opportunity to read and review her latest book. This one is set on Barbados and I admit I know nothing of this island's history, so I felt I learned a bit about the history while reading this beautiful story.

Told in dual narrative form, alternating between 1854 and 1812, it follows the story of two sets of characters. I found myself equally invested in both timelines and was desperate to know how these stories would eventually intersect - because we all know that at some point they eventually would. 

I loved the hint of mystery and secrets that drives part of this story. Emily has inherited a plantation in 1854 after her grandfather has died. But the plantation has been burned to the ground years ago and as she digs around about the place she finds more questions than answers. The biggest question being why he even left the place to her. 

Told through flashbacks, we get the history of what happened and I loved that it was done this way. Yes, it's a bit confusing at first, as you try to get all the characters straight in your mind, but once you figure out who is who and get into the rhythm of the story, it all flows quite nicely. 

This book is rich with the history of Barbados from the slavery to the cholera epidemic, and the richly drawn characters and beautifully written words only enhance it all the more. I absolutely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction - this is definitely one not to be missed!
 
 

Audio thoughts: I did a combination of listening and reading with this book and I just loved listening to Nicola Barber tell the parts that I listened to. She did an amazing job with the characters and the accents. There were times that I would simply re-listen to parts that I had read, just so I could listen to her read it to me - that's how much I enjoyed this. 


*** I'll be posting a giveaway for this book on my Instagram page later today!




About the Author: Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several novels. She lives in New York City with her family.

Authors Links:  Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook    |   Instagram
 
Purchase Links:   HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour and follow the tour on Twitter (hashtags:  #TLCBookTours & #thesummercountry).


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