Friday, January 31, 2020

Review: All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White

Title: All the Ways We Said Goodbye
Author: Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
Published: January 2020, William Morrow
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Source: Publisher via TLC Booktours

The New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.

The heiress . . .
The Resistance fighter . . .
The widow . . .
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel

France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.

France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.

France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart. . . .

My thoughts: I can't think of anything better than reading a book by three of your favorite authors. I absolutely love that this talented trio, dubbed the "3W's" has once again written another stellar book. Somehow when they come together to write, they create is not three separate stories but rather one seamless story that if you didn't know better, you would think one author penned. I have loved their previous books and this latest one is just as amazing.

I absolutely found myself captivated with this book. I loved how it uses one central location, the Paris Ritz, to tie the characters together, but then has three time periods to tell the story. Of course, as I was reading it, I was trying to figure out how all the characters were connected. This is not a book with a huge twist at the end, but rather we are slowly led down the path with hints being foreshadowed throughout. I loved this as it allowed me to see where we might be heading and to enjoy the journey all the more.

All three women were unique, dynamic women in their own right. They were strong, flawed women who you could not help but become swept up in their stories and I found myself equally invested in all three timelines, something I am finding happening more and more to be the case lately - maybe because the quality of historical fiction is stepping up it's game or I am just picking really good books. Either way, I am loving it.

This book has a bit of everything to keep you reading - a little mystery, a little romance, secrets, family drama and even a little adventure - and it takes us from WWI to WWII to some years post-war. It really is an excellent read and I cannot recommend it enough to all historical fiction fans! And lucky for us, team W will be back with another book...which I will be eagerly waiting to read!!!


Thursday, January 30, 2020

Short & Sweet Review: Detective Cross by James Patterson

Title: Detective Cross
Author: James Patterson
Series: Alex Cross, #24.5
Published: May 2017, BookShots
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Source: Personal copy

The suspect is your patient, Dr. Cross.

An anonymous caller has promised to set off deadly bombs in Washington, DC. A cruel hoax or the real deal? By the time Alex Cross and his wife, Bree Stone, uncover the chilling truth, it may already be too late....

***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: This was an extremely edge-of-your seat and thrilling read but with a eye-opening message of just how desperately we need funding for our veterans when they come home after serving for our country. It's one of those books where you have to constantly remind yourself that you are reading fiction and not reading something out of the news, though this truly could have been pulled right out of the papers.

Books in this series:
  1. Along Came a Spider                    16.  Cross Country
  2. Kiss the Girls                                   17.  Cross Fire
  3. Jack and Jill                                    18. Kill Alex Cross
  4. Cat and Mouse                               19.  Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
  5. Pop Goes the Weasel                    20.  Alex Cross, Run
  6. Roses are Red                                 21.  Cross My Heart
  7. Violets are Blue                              22.  Hope to Die
  8. Four Blind Mice                             23.  Cross Justice
  9. The Big Bad Wolf                            24.  Cross the Line
  10. London Bridges                              24.4  Cross Kill     
  11. Mary Mary                                       24.5  Detective Cross
  12. Cross                                                 25.  The People vs. Alex Cross
  13. Double Cross                                   26.  Target: Alex Cross
  14. I, Alex Cross                                    27.  Criss Cross
  15. Alex Cross's Trial

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Review: No Mercy by Joanna Schaffhausen

Title: No Mercy
Author: Joanna Schaffhausen
Series: Ellery Hathaway, #2
Published: January 2019, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 320 pages
Source: Netgalley

Police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI profiler Reed Markham take on two difficult new cases in this stunning follow-up to The Vanishing Season. 
No Mercy is award-winning author Joanna Schaffhausen’s heart-pounding second novel.
Police officer Ellery Hathaway is on involuntary leave from her job because she shot a murderer in cold blood and refuses to apologize for it. Forced into group therapy for victims of violent crime, Ellery immediately finds higher priorities than “getting in touch with her feelings.” 

For one, she suspects a fellow group member may have helped to convict the wrong man for a deadly arson incident years ago. For another, Ellery finds herself in the desperate clutches of a woman who survived a brutal rape. He is still out there, this man with the Spider-Man-like ability to climb through bedroom windows, and his victim beseeches Ellery for help in capturing her attacker.

Ellery seeks advice from her friend, FBI profiler Reed Markham, who liberated her from a killer’s closet when she was a child. Reed remains drawn to this unpredictable woman, the one he rescued but couldn’t quite save. The trouble is, Reed is up for a potential big promotion, and his boss has just one condition for the new job—stay away from Ellery. Ellery ignores all the warnings. Instead, she starts digging around in everyone’s past but her own—a move that, at best, could put her out of work permanently, and at worst, could put her in the city morgue.

My thoughts: I am so glad I found this series! Late last year, I took advantage of Netgalley offering the first two books of this series as "Read Now" options in anticipation of book 3, All The Best Lies, coming out in February. I had heard a lot of good things about these books and am so glad I grabbed them. I really enjoyed book 1, The Vanishing Season, and this second book is just as good!

While each book does stand alone and contains a case that is self-contained to one book, I would strongly suggest reading the series in order for the character development and backstory. You will understand and appreciate the main characters, Ellery and Reed, so much better if you do so, in my opinion. 

I loved that this book continues with the mismatched pair of Ellery and Reed working together. Ellery is on leave from her job due to what happened at the end of the prior book, but that doesn't stop her from getting involved in helping those who need her help. But with no police resources at her disposal due to her leave, her only option is to call Reed, who comes running at her call.

I love the dynamics between Ellery and Reed and I love that there is always the question of exactly what their relationship is between them hanging over them. Are they just professional acquaintances or is it the rescuer/survivor thing or is there something more going on? I think this is something that will be explored as the series continues, but one that I hope isn't drawn out for too long. 

This was a fast-paced book with plenty of twists and turns that kept me engaged throughout. I was as equally invested in the mystery as I was in the character development and I am so excited for the next book, which I will be reading very soon! This is definitely a series I am thoroughly enjoying and hope continues for quite some time.

Books in this series: 
  1. The Vanishing Season
  2. No Mercy
  3. All the Best Lies - due out February 2020


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Review: Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose

Title: Cartier's Hope
Author: M.J. Rose
Published: January 2020, Atria Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher via GetRed PR

From the New York Times bestselling author of the “lush, romantic historical mystery” (Kristin Hannah, New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale) Tiffany Blues, a gorgeously wrought novel following an intrepid female journalist in Gilded Age New York as she chases the story of the Hope Diamond.

New York, 1910: A city of magnificent skyscrapers and winding subways, where poor immigrants are crammed into tenements while millionaires thrive in Fifth Avenue mansions. Vera Garland is a thirty-two-year-old journalist, fighting alongside hundreds of women for a place in society, only to meet hurdles around every turn. Most female journalists are delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages but like her hero, Nellie Bly, Vera is a fighter.

When news of the Hope Diamond—a jewel whose infamous legends and curses have captured the world’s attention—arrives in the city, Vera is fast on its trail. She’s certain the fabulous jewel will help jumpstart her career but she’s determined to seek revenge against her current employer, a magazine owner whose greed and blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, this enchanting historical novel explores the very human desire for truth, equality, and retribution.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by M.J. Rose but it definitely won't be the last. I definitely have found my grove in reading historical fiction again lately and this one, set in NYC during the Gilded Age was just fascinating.

I was absolutely captivated by this story - once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down and ended up reading it in just two days. I love when I become so engaged in a story that I just can't walk away from it and that is exactly what happened here. Right from the start, I was swept up in the story and I think because some of this is based on historical fact and some is fictional, I found myself wanting to keep reading so that I could then do my research - I don't like to google while reading so as to not spoil anything for myself, especially when reading about a topic I am not familiar with. But as I find with most historical fiction, and why I love reading it, it always sends me down a rabbit hole afterwards, and now I am desperate to read more not only about New York's Gilded Age, a time period I love reading about, but also about early female journalists, particularly, Nellie Bly. And of course, I do want to know more about this Hope Diamond and the Cartiers...while I'm not a big jewelry person, I do like to admire beautiful pieces of jewelry and loved hearing about the history of that piece.

I loved that this book explores journalism in the early 1900s. Vera is a woman who is not about to settle for the norms of society - she knows what she wants and is not going to settle for what is expected of her. I loved that about her. It also very aptly shows the contrast between the haves and the have nots, which Vera was able to use to her advantage time and again when working on assignments, particularly when putting together her piece about the Hope Diamond.

M.J. Rose very cleverly crafted her book to use the time period to propel her story forward and her writing is so vivid that I could picture New York in all it's charm and glory. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery and will certainly be checking out her other books as well as doing some further reading on the topics I mentioned above. 


Monday, January 27, 2020

Review: When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald (audio)

Title: When We Were Vikings
Author: Andrew David MacDonald
Narrator: Phoebe Strole
Published: January 2020, Simon Schuster Audio / Scout Press
Length: 10 hours 14 minutes / 336 pages
Source: Audio - ALC via / Print - ARC Paperback via Publisher

A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 
Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.

For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all...

We are all legends of our own making.

My thoughts:  I first heard about this book last Spring at BookExpo. I was unsure about it, but one of the publicist's working at the booth saw me hemming and hawing about it and sold me on it. She told me I would love it and she was right...this book absolutely captivated me from start to finish. While I did have the print copy, I was also fortunate to receive an advanced listening copy (ALC) from and so I decided to listen to the book and what a treat that was.

I loved Zelda. She is a high-functioning young adult who was diagnosed with alcohol fetal syndrome. She is charming and quirky and I loved that she narrates this book. Being in her mind and seeing how she approaches life makes this book so unique. She is obsessed with Vikings and everything in her life is somehow made to fit around the Viking culture. And she is on a quest to become legendary - how can you not love that? She is intensely loyal to her friends and family, though maybe sometimes to the detriment of herself.

At its core, this book is about finding your place in this world. Does it matter if you are different from everyone else? Aren't you still looking for the same thing? Zelda may be a little different from you and I, but just because she's not-normal doesn't mean she's not capable. 

This book is remarkable on so many levels and and just begs to be read or listened to. It would definitely make a fantastic book club selection as it has so many areas for discussion. And it is certainly one that once you read it, you will not be able to stop thinking about it.

Audio thoughts: I loved listening to this really made the story come alive. This was the first time I've listen to Phoebe Strole as a narrator and I think she did a fantastic job capturing the essence of Zelda. I was completely captivated by the story and I think more so because of the narration. 


Review: When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

Title: When You See Me
Author: Lisa Gardner
Series: Detective D.D. Warren, #11
Published: January 2020, Dutton
Format: ARC Paperback, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

Bestselling author Lisa Gardner unites three of her most loved characters -Detective D.D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy - in a twisty new thriller, as they investigate a mysterious murder from the past that points to a dangerous and chilling present-day crime.

FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective DD Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. And when a disturbing piece of evidence comes to light, they decide to bring in Flora Dane who has personal experience of being imprisoned by Ness.

Their investigations take them to a small town deep in the hills of Georgia where something seems to be deeply wrong.

What at first seems like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister as they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed.

Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers - and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.

My thoughts:  It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Lisa Gardner's books. I've been reading her for a while now, following along with her Detective D.D. Warren series and recently getting into her FBI Profiler series. I love that with the last few books, she has brought together her female characters to work on the cases as they make such a great team.

One thing about Lisa Gardner's books is that while they can be a bit dark, they are incredibly addicting. I read this latest one in two days - it just pulled me in so completely that I really had a hard time putting it down. And I absolutely loved the way the story was told, once again giving up multiple points of view. This time, we hear from D.D, Flora Dane, Kimberly Quincy, as well as a young girl who will absolutely take hold of your heart by the end of this book, though the horrors she witnesses during the book will break you.

I loved that even though Flora Dane has been free from Jacob Ness for a while now, we are still exploring that time. There is so much to Flora's character and it all comes back to when she was held captive so it only makes sense to keep going back to him. He may be dead, but there is much to use there and I think Lisa Gardner is so skilled in being able to continue to craft stories around this topic without beating a dead horse. 

I also loved that while this is a mystery with horrific events happening, Lisa Gardner also pays attention to the people she writes about. You end up caring for the characters and becoming invested in their safety and their outcomes. As I mentioned the one point of view is that of a young girl and as much as her story is tragic and horrible, she will also become someone you end up caring for and want to see have a better life. And I love that in the author's note, Lisa Gardner indicates that she did quite a bit of research into her character. I love that because you walk away knowing all you read was as authentic as she could make her.

This is one of my favorite series and I wait with anticipation each year for the latest installment. Now, while I wait for the next book, I will be catching up on the FBI Profiler series, which is where Kimberly Quincy is from. I've only read a few of those books and I definitely want to be current in that series. 

Books in this series:
     1.  Alone                              
     2.  Hide                     
     3.  The Neighbor       
     4.  Live to Tell                               
     5.  Love You More
     5.5  The 7th Month
     6.  Catch Me
     7. Fear Nothing
     7.5  3 Truths & a Lie
     8.  Find Her
     9.  Look for Me   

     9.5  The Guy Who Died Twice
     10.  Never Tell 

     11.  When You See Me


Sunday, January 26, 2020

Review: The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

Title: The Better Liar
Author: Tanen Jones
Published: January 2020, Ballentine Books
Format: ARC E-copy, 307 pages
Source: Netgalley

When a woman conceals her sister's death to claim their joint inheritance, her deception exposes a web of dangerous secrets in this addictive new thriller for fans of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn, and Paula Hawkins.

"Like most of the dead, I want to be remembered."

Robin Voigt is dead. If her sister Leslie had arrived at her cramped Las Vegas apartment just hours earlier, this would have been their first reunion in a decade. In the years since Robin ran away from home as a teenager, Leslie has stayed in New Mexico, taking care of their dying father, even as she began building a family of her own. But when their father passed away, Leslie received a rude awakening: she and Robin must receive the $100,000 he left them together--or not at all. Now that money may be beyond her grasp. And unbeknownst to anyone, even her husband, Leslie needs her inheritance desperately.

When she meets a charismatic young woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Robin--and has every reason to leave her past behind--the two make a reckless bargain: Mary will impersonate Robin for a week in exchange for Robin's half of the cash. But neither realizes how high the stakes will be when Mary takes a dead woman's name. Even as Mary begins to suspect Leslie is hiding something, and Leslie realizes the stranger living in her house, babysitting her newborn son, and charming her husband has secrets of her own, Robin's wild, troubled legacy threatens to eclipse them both.

An electric, twisted portrait of sisterhood and the ties that bind, The Better Liar is a stunning debut with a heart-stopping, twist-after-twist finale that will beg the question: How far would you go to get what's yours?

My thoughts: I'm a big fan of thrillers, that should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me and my reading tastes. And as someone who reads so many, it's hard to be constantly wowed and completely floored, yet I totally was with this debut novel.

This book wasn't even on my radar until a friend raved about it - a friend I might add who has been less than pleased with this genre - told me I needed to get my hands on this book. Well, that pretty much sold me on it and I'm so glad I requested it, because it really is a book that deserves all the praise. This book completely hooked me right from the start and while I did have my theories, as I kept reading, the twists and turns had me second guessing myself time and again.

This is a dark, twisted game of cat and mouse and I loved every second of it. It's also a book chock full of lies and deceit and one where you won't know who to trust. The unease exudes from the pages as you get deeper into the book and the tension rises ever so slowly. 

A totally addicting and binge-worthy read, this book is one I have not stopped thinking about since I finished reading it. And I so appreciate the author's note at the end...but make sure to read this after you read the book. Tanen Jones has created one cleverly crafted novel and I know for sure I will be eager to see what she writes next. Have you read this one yet?


Friday, January 24, 2020

Review: The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Title: The Wives
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Published: December 2019, Graydon House
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

My thoughts:  I picked this gem up at BookExpo at the recommendation of the group of gals I was hanging out with and I'm so glad I did. It was one title I had been hemming and hawing at and they told me I needed to get it...well, they were right!

This book is one crazy, twisted ride and I enjoyed every second of it. It is definitely one of those reads where the less you know going into it, the better and the more you will enjoy it. It's fun, suspenseful and thrilling all wrapped up in one crazy book that is totally binge-worthy...this is the type of book that once you start reading, you are not going to want to put down.

I had my theories as to what was going on as I was reading this, but let me tell you, I never once got to where this one ended up...and that is totally ok. I love being challenged as a reader. It keeps me on my toes and this one for sure had me paying attention and flipping those pages to see what was going to happen next. You may think you know where this is heading, but trust me it goes all kinds of sideways and all I will say is just enjoy the ride.

This was my first Tarryn Fisher read and I don't know if all her books are like this or not, but I am definitely going to be checking out her backlist as I wait to see what she writes next!


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Short & Sweet Review: Cross Kill by James Patterson

Title: Cross Kill
Author: James Patterson
Series: Alex Cross, #24.4
Published: June 2016, BookShots
Format: Paperback, 113 pages
Source: Personal copy

Alex Cross, I'm coming for you--even from the grave if I have to.

Along Came a Spider killer Gary Soneji has been dead for over ten years. Alex Cross watched him die. But today, Cross saw him gun down his partner. Is Soneji alive? A ghost? Or something even more sinister?

Nothing will prepare you for the wicked truth.

***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 Bookshot novellas - they are quick and pack quite the punch. This one was non-stop action, keeping you engaged and flipping the pages at lightning speed. It has non of the fluff or nonsense that the full-length novels have but gets straight to the heart of action and stays on point the entire time.

Gary Soneji, who was first introduced in Along Came a Spider and he then appeared again in Cat & Mouse, was one of my favorite villains and I loved that James Patterson brought him back. He supposedly died in front of Alex years ago...but did he really?

This one took an emotional path I was not expecting and I am quite eager to how this will play out in future books. I was not, however, happy with the cliffhanger...that was not cool. But the only good thing is that because I am so far behind in the series, I don't have to wait too long to find out what comes next...just have to wait until I find the time to read the next book.

Books in this series:

  1. Along Came a Spider                    16.  Cross Country
  2. Kiss the Girls                                   17.  Cross Fire
  3. Jack and Jill                                    18. Kill Alex Cross
  4. Cat and Mouse                               19.  Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
  5. Pop Goes the Weasel                    20.  Alex Cross, Run
  6. Roses are Red                                 21.  Cross My Heart
  7. Violets are Blue                              22.  Hope to Die
  8. Four Blind Mice                             23.  Cross Justice
  9. The Big Bad Wolf                            24.  Cross the Line
  10. London Bridges                              24.4  Cross Kill     
  11. Mary Mary                                       24.5  Detective Cross
  12. Cross                                                 25.  The People vs. Alex Cross
  13. Double Cross                                   26.  Target: Alex Cross
  14. I, Alex Cross                                    27.  Criss Cross
  15. Alex Cross's Trial

Review: Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

Title: Lady Clementine
Author: Marie Benedict
Published: January 2020, Sourcebooks Landmark
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

New from Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room! An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who had the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill.

In 1909, Clementine Churchill steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill saves her husband.

Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the brilliant and ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.

My thoughts:  One of my favorite aspects of reading historical fiction is learning about such strong, remarkable women and when I saw that this book was being given out at BookExpo last Spring, I knew I had to pick up a copy. I don't know much about the Churchill family other than what I've seen from watching The Crown and that mostly focused on Winston and not Clementine, so I was quite eager to learn about the woman behind the man...and what a woman she is!

I loved the way this book is told - Marie Benedict gives us an inside look into the life of Clementine just as she is to become Mrs. Churchill and takes us through the ups and downs of their marriage. She was a formidable partner to Winston, greatly contributing to his political success, however, on the homefront, she was not so successful. Motherhood did not come easy to her and these parts were quite hard to read as she was quite distant to her children, relinquishing the role of caring for them over to a nanny whenever possible. 

I loved that we got to see that Clementine Churchill was not a perfect woman, but rather an imperfect woman. She still managed to support Churchill, and had her own causes, but she had her issues, too. This is all laid out in the book, but never once does the book become too bogged down in any one area. It's well-researched and thought-provoking.

All in all, this was an engaging read and definitely piqued my interest to learn more about the couple. I do have another book that I will be reading soon, Erik Larson's The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. I feel that now having read this book from Marie Benedict, I have a good overview of the Churchill family and know the major players, so I am going into that book with a good foundation, if that makes sense. This is why I love reading historical fiction - it makes me want to read more about a topic and now I'm on a quest to learn all there is to learn about the Churchills!

This was the first book I've read by Marie Benedict, but it definitely won't be the last. I liked her writing style and I loved that she wrote about a strong, inspiring woman. I have another of her books on my shelf, The Only Woman in the Room, that I am hoping to read soon and will be getting her other books as well. She is definitely going on my must-read list.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review: This Is Not How It Ends by Rochelle B. Weinstein

Title: This Is Not How It Ends
Author: Rochelle B. Weinstein
Published: January 2020, Lake Union Publishing
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher via GetRed PR

From USA Today bestselling author Rochelle B. Weinstein comes a moving novel of hearts lost and found, and of one woman torn between two love stories.

When Charlotte and Philip meet, the pair form a deep and instant connection. Soon they’re settled in the Florida Keys with plans to marry. But just as they should be getting closer, Charlotte feels Philip slipping away.

Second-guessing their love is something Charlotte never imagined, but with Philip’s excessive absences, she finds herself yearning for more. When she meets Ben, she ignores the pull, but the supportive single dad is there for her in ways she never knew she desired. Soon Charlotte finds herself torn between the love she thought she wanted and the one she knows she needs.

As a hurricane passes through Islamorada, stunning revelations challenge Charlotte’s loyalties and upend her life. Forced to reexamine the choices she’s made, and has yet to make, Charlotte embarks on an emotional journey of friendship, love, and sacrifice—knowing that forgiveness is a gift, and the best-laid plans can change in a heartbeat.

This Is Not How It Ends is a tender, moving story of heartbreak and healing that asks the question: Which takes more courage—holding on or letting go?

My thoughts: When you receive a package of tissues with the book, you know you are in for an emotional read and that is exactly what we get with Rochelle Weinstein's latest book. But it's the kind of emotional read that sneaks up on you...and that to me is the very best kind.

One of the things I love the most about Rochelle's writing is that she creates such relatable, well-drawn characters that you connect with right from the start. They are also incredibly thought provoking books and have you taking a hard look at your own relationships. I saw myself in these relationships time and again, wondering if things were to go down that road, what I would do. 

This book is about love and loss, friendship and forgiveness. It has all the feels and as I stated above, it's a quiet read that sneaks up on you, taking hold of your heart and not letting go. I love Rochelle's writing and will be recommending this book to everyone that loves great women's fiction. This is a book I will not be forgetting anytime soon!


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Review: The Wife and the Widow by Christian White

Title: The Wife and the Widow
Author: Christian White
Published: January 2020, Minotaur Books
Format: ARC Paperback, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

The second standalone thriller from the award-winning author of The Nowhere Child, Christian White.

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and The Widow is an unsettling thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband’s secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside when she’s forced to confront the evidence of her husband’s guilt. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.

Brilliant and beguiling, The Wife and The Widow takes you to a cliff edge and asks the question: how well do we really know the people we love?

My thoughts: This is the first novel I've read by Christian White, however it will certainly not be the last. I was completely captivated by this book, reading it in one day, not being able to put it down. This book is the type of mystery that totally consumes you and you cannot do anything but keep reading until you get to the end to see how it all plays out and I absolutely love books like that!

This book is all about the lengths people will go in order to protect those they love as well as asking how well do we even know them. It's also a book that is probably best to go into as blind as possible in order to fully appreciate this book. I will say that it's brilliantly crafted and will totally hook you right from the start. There are quite a few surprises along the way, some that may completely floor you and that is the beauty of this book.

I loved the way the story was told, alternating between Kate, the widow, and Abby, the wife. You immediately become invested in both their stories and are left wondering just how these stories are connected as the layers are slowly peeled back. I'm always amazed at how authors know just the right moment to make certain revelations.

This is a fast-paced, well written, smart mystery that will keep you engaged and thinking all the way through. I cannot wait to read Christian White's debut novel, The Nowhere Child,  and will definitely be recommending The Wife and the Widow to everyone!

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