Format: Paperback

Sophia Rose: Seasons in Time by Cat Gardiner

Posted March 30, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Sophia Rose: Seasons in Time by Cat GardinerSeasons in Time by Cat Gardiner
Series: Time & Again Antique Shop Books #1 #2 #3 #4
Published by Vanity & Pride Press on February 9, 2019
Genres: Historical Romance, Time-Travel
Pages: 230
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

All four Time & Again Antique Shop Series in one fabulous paperback where the 1940s meet the present through a time-slip wormhole. Share the romantic and exciting journey with history's favorite literary couple from Pride and Prejudice.Romance, history, and memories of old are only part of what makes the 130 year old Time & Again antique shop so special.For Lizzy Bennet, what begins as a simple visit to Time & Again turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. An unlikely friendship forms with the elderly shopkeeper who sends her on a journey of a lifetime─through a time portal. Love and lessons await her when she leaves her mobile device behind and finally looks up. Travel with Lizzy back to wartime 1940s─where her heart opens and future changes thanks to one dashing G.I: William Darcy and the magic of an antique shop.

A modern woman, cynical about love, finds herself outside a quaint antique shop when left alone on Valentine’s Day. The magic begins when she enters the shop and discovers the plastic red heart pin in the 1940’s display that whisks her back to a time of warbonds, ration cards, USO dances, and a nation at war for an unforgettable Valentine’s Dance and Kiss.

Seasons in Time is the compilation of the Time and Again Antique Shop novellas. Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day, All Hallow’s Eve, and New Year’s Eve are the holiday settings for the ongoing tale of a fated romance, family antics, and the revitalization of a little antique shop and the rundown east end of town.

It had a lovely nostalgic, sweet, and sassy feel. The time travel aspect was magical rather than sci-fi and the Antique Shop setting was fun and whimsical. Doris, the shop keeper, is a lady of mystery and the reader and Lizzy are aware that she knows more than she’s telling as events unfold. She guides Lizzy and Will, Jane and Charles and many others to find their true path in life in a kind, grandmothery way. Her story reveals itself in the background of the stronger story of Lizzy and Will.

Lizzy is the primary character though Will and Doris get their moments of telling the story, too. Lizzy is a vulnerable person who hides a good amount of pain and fear behind the face she shows the world. Her life hasn’t been horrific, but there is a quiet pain that comes from a father who neglects his family and a mother who picks favorites followed by a scumbag ex who cheated on her with her twit of a baby sister. This all starts to change when she enters Doris’ shop and steps back in time to have her eyes opened to the possibility of love and a confidence to reach for it.

Will is a dashing soldier hero who comes from a prestigious wealthy family, but he is no snob and is a natural caregiver and protector. He takes one look at Lizzy and he feels the connection. He is patient with her fears and her vulnerability and he is more than patient with her obnoxious family. He’s a bit wartorn from his tours overseas as an Army Ranger. He has his own vulnerability and it is Lizzy who anchors him. He needs her and it was good to see.

The author did her homework when it came to the 1940’s and war backdrop. The slang was fun as were all the little ways that the scene was drawn behind the characters. The Big Band Era was well repped in songs and dances.

All in all, it was heartwarming and sweet with a pinch of spice. Fans of Jane Austen will spot the tribute to Pride & Prejudice in this engaging, uncomplicated time travel romance that I can see being a pleasure for many readers.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Call Me Evie by J.P. Pomare

Posted March 26, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review: Call Me Evie by J.P. PomareCall Me Evie by J.P. Pomare
Series: Standalone
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on March 5, 2019
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In this propulsive, twist-filled, and haunting psychological suspense debut perfect for fans of Sharp Objects and Room, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played on the night her life changed forever.
For the past two weeks, seventeen-year-old Kate Bennet has lived against her will in an isolated cabin in a remote beach town--brought there by a mysterious man named Bill. Part captor, part benefactor, Bill calls her Evie and tells her he's hiding her to protect her. That she did something terrible one night back home in Melbourne--something so unspeakable that he had no choice but to take her away. The trouble is, Kate can't remember the night in question.
The fragments of Kate's shattered memories of her old life seem happy: good friends, a big house in the suburbs, a devoted boyfriend. Bill says he'll help her fill in the blanks--but his story isn't adding up. And as she tries to reconcile the girl she thought she'd been with the devastating consequences Bill claims she's responsible for, Kate will unearth secrets about herself and those closest to her that could change everything.
A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind, Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth, even from ourselves.

A twisted page-turner with an unreliable narrator that kept me flipping for more.

I really enjoyed this book. It follows a 17-year-old Kate and her “Uncle” Jim. Something terrible happens and Kate is now known as Evie to hide her real identity and Jim has found themselves in a remote beach town of Maketu New Zealand.  The story has two timelines, the before and after and as we follow the characters through the twist and turns we uncover what really happened and not what we think happened.

I thought this was well done. I think some people have problems with how many twists this book took. I personally liked it, it kept me hooked and entertained and thinking enough about the book that I kept coming back. I blew through the pages I was enjoying it that much.

The ending I thought had it figured out was still well done and even a bit heartbreaking.

My only real issue here was the dog and I deducted from the book and almost gave it 3.5 stars because I felt like the author didn’t need to hurt an animal to add to the story, it was good enough as is and the entire thing could have been completely cut and avoided.

I liked the authors writing and storytelling. I found the book exciting despite the animal issue and was glad the author did not go as far with it as he could have, but I still felt like the entire thing could be avoided. In the future, I will be looking forward to more of his writing and what he might have in store for us next.

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New Releases Round Up #1

Posted March 15, 2019 by Lily B in New Releases Round Up / 7 Comments

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. The last two days here have been nice and warm and we finally got to spend some time outside and even cleaning up our garden. My health issues are still there, but I am not letting them get in the way of living my life. My son has been enjoying the trips to the park and this weekend we are heading out to the city for more birthdays.

New Releases Round Up will be something new to try on my blog to feature new releases coming up that I am currently really excited about and why I am excited about them. What are you patiently waiting to come out?

New Releases Round Up #1The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
Series: Standalone
Published by Berkley on March 19, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943--aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.
The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.

I love Susan Meissner and her writing. I have read and reviewed several of her novels before and I feel like they are just getting better and better. She is currently one of my favorite writers. Her novels just really have a way to draw me in. This one is set during WWII it sounds just as amazing and emotional and I cannot wait to read it.

 

New Releases Round Up #1The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
Series: Standalone
Published by Graydon House on March 19, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In 1942, Europe remains in the relentless grip of war. Just beyond the tents of the Russian refugee camp she calls home, a young woman speaks her wedding vows. It’s a decision that will alter her destiny…and it’s a lie that will remain buried until the next century.
Since she was nine years old, Alina Dziak knew she would marry her best friend, Tomasz. Now fifteen and engaged, Alina is unconcerned by reports of Nazi soldiers at the Polish border, believing her neighbors that they pose no real threat, and dreams instead of the day Tomasz returns from college in Warsaw so they can be married. But little by little, injustice by brutal injustice, the Nazi occupation takes hold, and Alina’s tiny rural village, its families, are divided by fear and hate. Then, as the fabric of their lives is slowly picked apart, Tomasz disappears. Where Alina used to measure time between visits from her beloved, now she measures the spaces between hope and despair, waiting for word from Tomasz and avoiding the attentions of the soldiers who patrol her parents’ farm. But for now, even deafening silence is preferable to grief.
Slipping between Nazi-occupied Poland and the frenetic pace of modern life, Kelly Rimmer creates an emotional and finely wrought narrative that weaves together two women’s stories into a tapestry of perseverance, loyalty, love and honor. The Things We Cannot Say is an unshakable reminder of the devastation when truth is silenced…and how it can take a lifetime to find our voice before we learn to trust it.

I have actually not yet read anything by Kelly Rimmer, but do own some of her books and have heard some amazing things about her beautiful and emotional writing. Another novel set in WWII that looks promising weaving between two timelines. I love dual timelines and so looking forward to this.
New Releases Round Up #1Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young
Series: Girls with Sharp Sticks,
Published by Simon Pulse on March 19, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.
As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

All girls boarding school, dark secrets. Bring it on. I’ve not yet read a Young novel before. Eak I know, but this looks so good and I miss my Dystopia novels.
New Releases Round Up #1To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
Series: Standalone
Published by Thomas Nelson on March 19, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

A maze competition? This looks like so much fun! I enjoy YA fantasy and I love the premise for this. Plus this cover, isn’t it gorgeous?
New Releases Round Up #1Desperate Paths by E.C. Diskin
Series: Standalone
Published by Thomas & Mercer on March 19, 2019
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In Eden, the truth can have deadly consequences.
Brooklyn Anderson knows it looks bad. She was found wiping down a gun. Her father now dead. His blood on her hands. The incomprehensible nightmare has started.
Seven days earlier, Brooklyn had returned to Eden to care for her beloved father, who lay helpless in a hospital bed. Her estranged sister, Ginny, said he fell. But as Brooklyn soon realizes, Ginny is prone to lying.
Former Eden resident Darius Woods was in the hospital too. The famous actor had written a screenplay that would lay bare all the secrets of the town, but within hours of his return, someone shot him.
As the Woods investigation proceeds, and Brooklyn starts to question everything she believes about her family, her neighbors, and her home, secrets and lies begin to unravel. But nothing can prepare her for where those lies will finally lead.
And sharing the truth of what happened the night her father died might just make things worse.

The blurb has me hooked. I want to know how it happened. It sounds chilling. I love a good thriller and these cold nights is perfect for these type of reads.

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Review: Cut and Run by Mary Burton

Posted March 1, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: Cut and Run by Mary BurtonCut and Run by Mary Burton
Series: standalone
Published by Montlake Romance on October 9, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 321
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:three-flames

Twin sisters separated by the past are reunited by unspeakable crimes in New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton’s throat-clutching novel of suspense…
Trauma victims are not new to medical examiner Faith McIntyre, but this one is different. The unconscious woman clinging to life after a hit and run is FBI agent Macy Crow. What the woman from Quantico was doing in a dark alley after midnight is just one mystery. The other is more unsettling: Macy is Faith’s mirror image—the twin sister she never knew she had.
Faith knew that she was adopted, but now she’s finding that her childhood concealed other secrets. Following the trail of clues Macy left behind, Faith and Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden make a shocking discovery on an isolated country ranch—a burial ground for three women who disappeared thirty years before.
They weren’t the only victims in a killer’s twisted plot. And they won’t be the last.
As the missing pieces of Faith’s and Macy’s dark lives snap into place, Faith is becoming more terrified by what she sees—and by what she must do to save her sister and herself from the past.

First time dipping my toes into Mary Burton’s world and it won’t be my last!

Cut and Run follows a medical examiner Faith McIntyre, who finds that the woman lies in critical condition is her twin sister she never knew about. Faith always knew she was adopted, but she didn’t know that her adoption would unearth a trail of deep dark secrets. Following the clues her twin left behind, Faith and Texas Ranger Mitchell Hayden will uncover shocking discoveries of the past that might help them find a new missing pregnant girl in the present.

This book was a really good thriller. Well written, with great character development. I loved that Faith and Mitchell weren’t exactly perfect, which made them easy to relate to and more human.

I love the dark atmospheric tone of the book. I really enjoyed the pace. The overall story kept me mostly guessing and gave me enough to make me want to flip through the pages. The themes were a bit dark and as a mother, hard to read at times. But overall the well-developed plot was exciting and heart pounding till the end. I liked that the authors sprinkled a little bit of romance to lighten the plot line.

I think my only gripe with all of this would be the ending. I thought it felt a bit rushed as everything fell into place and the last bit was uncovered. I would have liked the reveal to unravel a bit slower.

But I really enjoyed her style of writing and storytelling, I will be looking for more from this author.

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Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz Lawler

Posted February 26, 2019 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: Don’t Wake Up by Liz LawlerDon't Wake Up by Liz Lawler
Series: standalone
Published by Harper Paperbacks on February 5, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A harrowing psychological thriller debut about a woman who awakens after an assault with no physical proof of the attack and who must try to convince everyone of what really happened.
When Dr. Alex Taylor opens her eyes, she is hooked up to an IV, is bound to an operating table, and her legs are raised in stirrups. Disoriented and alarmed, she assumes she's been anesthetized and brought to surgery after being in an accident. But the man standing over her, with his face hidden behind a surgical mask and wielding instruments, is no doctor she recognizes at the hospital where she works as a successful and respected doctor. He’s a stranger—and he’s calmly and methodically telling her how he's about to attack her. Before Alex can even scream for help, she succumbs to another dose of anesthesia, rendering her unable to defend herself….
When she comes to on a gurney, she finds herself surrounded by her colleagues and immediately reports the attack and rape. The police are skeptical of her bizarre story. And after a physical exam reveals no proof of any attack, even her boyfriend has doubts. Despite Alex's adamant claims, no one believes her, leaving her to wonder if she has, in fact, lost her mind.
Until she meets the next victim…
An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, Don't Wake Up is also a provocative, timely exploration of victimhood, abuse, and the discrediting of women in our culture.
 
 

Dr. Alex Taylor is a young, but a successful doctor who seems to have everything going for her until the night she gets attacked and her world is turned upside down. She thought the horror was over, but it all begins when she opens her eyes and then meet the other victim…

I have a hard time writing this review. I don’t really know how to feel about this book and I find that I am completely torn on the rating.

The writing was good, it felt fast paced at the beginning, but slowly began to drag and parts of it quickly became boring and annoying.

The story as a whole, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. It was frustrating. It’s been a while since I’ve found myself so angry with the book. Let me explain.

Dr. Alex Taylor is a smart, successful doctor. She gets attacked and NO ONE. Not one single person believes her. Her colleagues don’t believe her, her fiance does not believe her, even her “best friend” acts like a total jerk to her. I was so angry over everything and how everyone suddenly doubted her mental state and the control Dr. Alex Taylor was losing because of it. I didn’t feel that the extent it went that it was realistic. The police might have doubted her because of the lack of evidence, but I didn’t feel like there wasn’t one person there that shouldn’t have believed her. Even the man that ‘loved’ her was a complete and total loser. She also somehow ends up the prime suspect in the murder cases that follow and the lead detective that was trying to frame her with no evidence was driving me insane. How the hell was that realistic?

I kind of went into this book thinking it was a powerful tool during the #metoo movement as its blurb on the cover, but instead, I got nothing but frustration and not at all where I expected this book to go. It fizzled, it could have delivered some sort of a message, but instead, it left me more than a little underwhelmed.

 

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Guest Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan

Posted February 8, 2019 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 16 Comments

Guest Review: Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field by Melissa NathanPride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field by Melissa Nathan
Series: standalone
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 24, 2001
Genres: Chick-Lit, Womens Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

It starts as a lark for Jasmin Field, the charming, acerbically witty columnist for a national women's magazine.  She joins a host of celebraties gathering in London to audition for the season's most dazzling charity event:  a one-night only stage production of Jane Austen's immortal Pride and Prejudice, directed by and starring the Academy Award -- winning Hollywood heartthrob Harry Noble.  And nobody is more surprised than Jasmin herself when she lands the lead of handsome Harry's love interest, Elizabeth Bennet.  But things start to go very wrong very quickly.  Ms. Field's delicious contempt for the arrogant, overbearing Harry Noble goes from being wicked fun to infuriating.  Her brief moment of theatrical glory looks as if it's going to be overshadowed by the betrayal of her best friend, the disintegration of her family and the implosion of her career. And suddenly she can't remember a single one of her lines.  But, worst of all, Harry Noble -- who, incidentally, looks amazing in tight breeches -- has started to stare hard at Jazz with that sort of a glimmer in his eyes...
Fresh, wild, wonderfully romantic and absolutely hilarious, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field is Jane Austen as the great lady herself never imagined it.

 

So, Pride, Prejudice and Jasmin Field, a classic retelling within a modern retelling. Yes! We have a play adaption of Jane Austen’s P&P acted for a charity event with the players’ lives mimicking art in this one.

It is set in London and follows the life of women’s column journalist, Jasmin Field as she plays the part of impertinent Elizabeth Bennet across from top rated actor in the country, Harry Noble who set Jazz’s back up long before their first bad meeting.

Things progress in a marvelous comedy of errors type story as Jasmin is set in hate-mode toward Harry and it doesn’t help that she lets herself believe a charmer with lies on his lips. Harry got on her bad side so she has no trouble believing the worst. It is the shy, friendly side that startles her and throws her for a loop. Meanwhile, her sister falls for the cutie nice guy actor and her flat mate plays the role of the pragmatic friend who settles for what she can get.

But, it wasn’t just comedy. There were some deeper elements that came out: abuse, gaslighting, integrity in journalism, feminism in these fields of industry, and the downside of the entertainment world beside all the glitter and glam.

I had a good time with this one, particularly since I’m an American enjoying the completely British flavor of this one even down to the slang. There was some sparks flying and some memorable funny moments along with some good character growth and decisive moments.

I will say that while I had fun with the overall story; I was not as enamored with Jasmin as the main character. I found her character crossed the line from snarky into angry-bitter which wasn’t attractive. It did make her big ‘aha’ moment bigger, and it was great watching her work through her thoughts and choices after that. I didn’t have much respect for her and Harry at times until later- then I was rooting them on.

All in all, it was a fast and engaging retelling with some sparkle and shine to it.

 

Sophia Sophia 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Guest Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Posted October 7, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 22 Comments

Guest Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth WareThe Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Series: standalone
Published by Gallery/Scout Press on July 19, 2016
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Won
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

I took one look at the quote on the back cover “if you’re a fan of Agatha Christie…” and read a few of my favorite book bloggers talking this one up and I just had to read it. I was unfamiliar with the author until this book released so I was eager to give her a try.

Well, I really wanted to say I loved this one and I was riveted, but that turned out not to be the case. I think I went in with incredibly high expectations and an expectation of a Christie whodunnit when this wasn’t Christie and it wasn’t fair to give it such a high standard to reach. This one was by no means lousy and the writing was strong and good. The setting of a cruise off the coast of Norway and the assembled group of high flyers and travelers was a nice International Intrigue feeling. There is a sense of wondering if the narrator is reliable or not which I do love. I liked the ‘did it really happen that way? Was it even real?” Quite a clever premise and set up.

But, when it came down to it, The Woman in Cabin 10 turned out to be a so-so read for me until the last third when it finally grabbed me. If I hadn’t seen others I trust loving on it, I might very well have stopped reading early on.

I didn’t connect with the female protagonist, Lo. I didn’t hate her, but I didn’t exactly like her or admire her either. She’s not a nice person and she drinks enough to destroy her liver and is definitely an alcoholic which is nuts since she’s got an anxiety disorder and is on medication. I think I was meant to be wary of connecting with her and wondering about her part in all this.

No, what almost had me it setting aside was me impatiently waiting for something to happen between little blips of action or suspense. I found the action-suspense points good, but the slow built to each one had me drifting as I flipped pages waiting for the next intense moment. I didn’t feel like there was a point to much of it like it was treading water until the next momentous event could occur and I spent a lot of time in Lo’s head which wasn’t interesting to me and was frankly annoying because she dwells on stuff and leaps with her logic. To be fair, I might not have been in the right frame of mind for this style of psychological thriller. I think I was looking for a more pounding pace which is why the last portion was when I finally clicked with this book. It just took off like a rocket and left me breathless and twitching for what would come next.

So, in the end, I was glad to have read this one and I do want to read more of the author’s books, but now I know what to expect and I think that will make all the difference in the world.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Guest Review: The Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard

Posted September 8, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 6 Comments

Guest Review: The Whale: A Love Story by Mark BeauregardThe Whale: A Love Story by Mark Beauregard
Series: standalone
Published by Penguin Books on June 26, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A rich and captivating novel set amid the witty, high-spirited literary society of 1850s New England, offering a new window on Herman Melville's emotionally charged relationship with Nathaniel Hawthorne and how it transformed his masterpiece, Moby-Dick
In the summer of 1850, Herman Melville finds himself hounded by creditors and afraid his writing career might be coming to an end--his last three novels have been commercial failures and the critics have turned against him. In despair, Melville takes his family for a vacation to his cousin's farm in the Berkshires, where he meets Nathaniel Hawthorne at a picnic--and his life turns upside down.
The Whale chronicles the fervent love affair that grows out of that serendipitous afternoon. Already in debt, Melville recklessly borrows money to purchase a local farm in order to remain near Hawthorne, his newfound muse. The two develop a deep connection marked by tensions and estrangements, and feelings both shared and suppressed.
Melville dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, and Mark Beauregard's novel fills in the story behind that dedication with historical accuracy and exquisite emotional precision, reflecting his nuanced reading of the real letters and journals of Melville, Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and others. An exuberant tale of longing and passion, The Whale captures not only a transformative relationship--long the subject of speculation--between two of our most enduring authors, but also their exhilarating moment in history, when a community of high-spirited and ambitious writers was creating truly American literature for the first time.

Earlier this year, I enjoyed an author taking two famous authors and writing their stories side by side. So, when I was introduced to this book not only telling of two famous American author stories, but showing their friendship, their work, and a little something more, I was all in. It read like a love story tucked inside a historical fiction.

The Whale: A Love Story didn’t exactly grab me like I was hoping it would. I’ve read books by both authors: Moby Dick by Herman Melville, House of Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. After being exposed to their writing and studying them a bit in college lit class, I was eager to learn more about the men behind the books. I was all kinds of curious about the suggestion that they were gay and had a love affair. I was open to not only buying in to even a whiff of it, but enjoying it even if it was just a very loose fictional story. Unfortunately, I got lost in the author’s writing style and couldn’t really like the Melville portrayed in this book (to be fair, he was something of a romanticist in real life) or get on board with the romance. He says and does idiotish things and being inside his head was torturous or mind-numbing in turn for me.

It wasn’t all a slog. I did enjoy the letters and I felt the author got the details of the time period down. Melville drove me nuts the way he got himself into trouble with his family, with entanglements, and all bumbling over his crush on Hawthorne, his muse. I liked the friendship between Hawthorne and Melville. I got a better feel for both men which is what I wanted.

I think I would recommend this for historical fiction fans who are open to broader interpretations of the characters and don’t mind an awkward romance at the heart of the story.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Guest Review: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

Posted July 19, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Guest Review: How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica HenryHow to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry
Series: standalone
Published by Penguin Books on July 10, 2018
Genres: General Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Absolutely delightful." --People
The enchanting story of a bookshop, its grieving owner, a supportive literary community, and the extraordinary power of books to heal the heart
Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers--a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father's death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.
There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there's a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage--she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.
Enter the world of Nightingale Books for a serving of romance, long-held secrets, and unexpected hopes for the future--and not just within the pages on the shelves. How to Find Love in a Bookshop is the delightful story of Emilia, the unforgettable cast of customers whose lives she has touched, and the books they all cherish.

As the cover quote says, this is a love story to a bookshop and its late owner. However, there is something magical in the air of this shop because love in many forms makes its way into the lives of those who come to the shop and for a woman who finds her way back home.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop starts out on a low melancholy note and gently meanders its way through the lives of some the people living in the small village of Peasebrook. Julien opened the shop and now his daughter, Emilia, has his big shoes to fill when the shop comes to her. Everyone loved him and his friendly, non-judgmental yet wise ways.

The narrative switches between the handful of people most affected by the magical pull of Nightingale bookshop. There is Sarah with her secrets and life as lady of the manor, Dillon who has a hidden unrequited crush, Theodora too shy to go for it with her attraction to Jem, two couples on the verge of splitting for good, an older woman getting a second chance, and young Emilia struggling with the shop, grief, and an attraction to a man who sees her as a friend.

The book transfers between the stories, but they aren’t disconnected. I loved how the author wove them separately, but brought them together with the bookshop at the heart. And, what a lovely place it is. The old shop on the High street near the stone bridge with lovely old atmosphere inside with its wooden floors, showcase windows, mezzanine upstairs, stone fireplace and nooks- every booklover’s dream place.

The conflict is mostly within the character’s relationships and keeping the shop open. I liked the drowsy way the story pulled me along. It was not one that kept me riveted and I could put it down, but I was always eager when I could pick it back up again. I only had one niggle. In Dillon’s story, I loved how that turned out, but I do wish that the jerk who lied had gotten a stronger comeuppance for the trouble he caused.

So, this was lovely and full of depth and richness. I think those who want an easy-reading gently paced low-key story with love on the side would enjoy this one.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

Posted July 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review: Rainy Day Friends by Jill ShalvisRainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone #2
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Following the USA Today bestselling author of Lost and Found Sisters comes Jill Shalvis' moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship
Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. 
Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?
Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan.
Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Brown changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

Oh my heart guys, I almost forgot how much I like Jill Shalvis romance.

I’ve struggled with some of the books in her Heartbreaker Bay series due to my disliking some of the characters in there that keep popping up, but Rainy Day Friends hit all the marks for me.

We follow Lanie Jacob’s whose husband’s death brought on a deep sense of pain and loss, until she discovers that she isn’t the only one grieving his death and that her husband apparently had an addiction to marrying a lot of women, four in fact.

Lanie takes a job to reinvent all the packaging for a very successful winery, where she meets the owner’s son, Mark an Air Force veteran turned sheriff who gave up his military career for his two twin daughters.

My heart. I adored this book. It was funny, it was charming, the romance was just right and awesome. I was a bit worried because I have completely struggled with romances lately and this just hit all the marks and pulled me out of the slump long enough to really enjoy it.

Now I know there is a mention that a lot of the jokes in here came from meme’s, I don’t follow meme’s enough to distinguish that fact, so I guess it did not bother me, but I can see how it can bother other people.

Overall, I think despite that little tidbit, I absolutely ended up adoring this. I adored the romance and how Mark’s daughters chipped down her walls. I loved the setting of the winery and the family. I struggled with the character of River and felt for Lanie with what she went through, it was unfortunate so it was awesome to see her find happiness.

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