Book Review – Code Name Helene

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper. She is fighting to cover the disturbing reports of violence coming out of Vienna and Berlin when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

Thoughts:

I received this ebook ARC through NetGalley. The book will be published on March 31, 2020 by Doubleday Books.

Nancy Wake was a real life spy and one of the most decorated women for her role during WWII. She went by four code names throughout the war (Lucienne Carlier, The White Mouse, Helene and Madam Andree). While the author did tweak some of the facts in the book, the majority of what you will read in this story really happened.

I enjoyed reading the relationship that was developed between Nancy and her husband, Henri and the heartbreak she endured at the end of the war.

What Nancy did during WWII was extraordinary and taught me that women who were involved during that war were true heroes and complete and total badasses.

If you like stories about strong women or Historical Fiction, I think you would enjoy this book and would definitely recommend it!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Confetti Pact

The Confetti Pact by Lilly Bartlett
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Nelly Roberts needs a fiancé – fast!

When she’s left in the lurch with not just a wedding but also the country’s biggest magazine feature on the line, social media star, Nelly, has no choice but to substitute one groom for another. Luckily, Rafael Moreno Cortes needs a visa, so they make a deal: act the perfect couple for as long as it takes to get them both what they want. The catch? Absolutely nobody can know the truth.

With the magazine following their every move, Nelly’s ex re-emerges with a change of heart just as her pretend feelings for Rafael start to be anything but pretend. What could possibly go wrong? 

Thoughts:

I was contacted by Michele Gorman (aka Lilly Bartlett) asking if I would like to read her latest book, The Confetti Pact, in exchange for an honest review.

This book was hilarious and laugh out loud funny. It was a fast, light hearted read and I just loved the characters and the plot.

This book comes out on February 12, 2020, and for the month of February, Amazon is offering the Ebook for $2.99!

If you like romances with quirky characters, this book is for you!

I gave this book a 5 star rating.

Book Review – In Pieces

In Pieces by Sally Field
Genre: Memoir

Synopsis:

In this intimate, haunting literary memoir, an American icon tells her story for the first time, and in her own gorgeous words-about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother.

One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget‘s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.

With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships-including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century. 

Thoughts:

Such a beautifully narrated book by Sally Field. The honesty and rawness of what she experienced as a child comes through her words and just left me gutted. I also had no idea of how much she doubted her work as it certainly doesn’t come through that way on the screen (at least for me). She is one of my favorite actresses and maybe it’s because of her insecurities she’s able to deliver such outstanding performances.

A fantastic read for me and I gave it 5/5 stars!

Book Review – I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive
Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
Genre: Nonfiction

Synopsis:

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case.

Thoughts:

I listened to this book on Audible and was completely hooked right from the start. It literally gave me chills throughout listening to it! To think that these horrific crimes took place from 1974 until 1986 and that it took until 2018 to identify the suspect is shocking to me.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading true crime. I gave this book a 5 star rating!

Book Review – Woman On The Edge

Woman On The Edge by Samantha M. Bailey
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis:

A moment on the platform changes two lives for ever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes for ever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or is something much darker going on?

Thoughts:

I was fortunate to receive this ebook ARC through NetGalley. The book is set to be published on March 3, 2020.

I really enjoyed how Morgan and Nicole’s story was woven together. Morgan’s chapters were present day where she is trying to figure out why all fingers were pointing to her doing something sinister to Nicole. Nicole’s chapters took the reader from the time she was about to give birth up to the point of meeting Morgan on the platform at the train station. The story was fast paced and I like that when reading this type of genre. The only thing I thought fell short for me was that I was pretty much able to figure out who was ultimately responsible for Nicole’s demise before the end of the book.

All in all, I was happy with this story and gave it 4/5 stars.

Book Review – Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

Memphis, 1939: Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge — until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’t Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parrents — but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s real-life director, the cruel Georgia Tann, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together.

Aiken, South Carolina, Present Day: Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career, a handsome fiance, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when she returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Thoughts:

This book is gut wrenching at times. To think of the horrors children lived through in the orphanage is unbearable, especially knowing that all of them didn’t survive. Rill Foss is a character that I will not soon forget about and this extraordinary story will stay with me for a long time. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2020 than reading this book which is also the January pick for a book club I belong to. Please, if you haven’t read this book and you enjoy historical fiction, get this book and read it!

If it wasn’t apparent from my thoughts, I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Book Review – Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis

Eleanor Oliphant struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life, where weekends mostly consist of frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling IT guy from her office, whose big heart will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Thoughts

This was the first book chosen to read for a book club that I recently joined and it did not disappoint! It was funny and was very moving. I was cheering on Eleanor throughout her journey. There are some twists at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming which broke my heart. A great book to finish 2019 with . . . a definite must read if you haven’t done so yet!

A gave this book 4.5/5 stars!

Book Review – How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas

How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas by Jeff Guinn
Genre: Historical Fiction (Holiday)

Synopsis

It’s 1620, and Mrs. Claus’s beloved husband is off in the New World, planting the seeds for what will become a glorious Christmas tradition. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus has chosen to stay in England, where the first signs of a dangerous threat to Yuletide cheer are in evidence. The Puritans have gained control of Parliament and appear determined to take all the fun out of Christmas. But Mrs. Claus knows that it’s time for serious action when, in 1647, a law is passed by Parliament that actually punishes anyone who celebrates Christmas. Based on the actual events of Christmas Day in 1647, when ten thousand peasants marched through the streets of Canterbury demanding their right to celebrate a beloved holiday.

Thoughts

This is the 2nd book in Jeff Guin’s The Christmas Chronicles and just like the first book in the series The Autobiography of Santa Claus, there are 24 chapters which are to be read one at a time beginning December 1. Another wonderful holiday read!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Autobiography of Santa Claus

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn
Genre: Historical Fiction (Holiday)

Synopsis

This enchanting holiday treasure combines historical fact with glorious legend as Saint Nicholas reveals the definitive story of Santa Claus.

In The Autobiography of Santa Claus, Santa shares his story with readers for the first time. Nicholas (his real name) was born in Lycia, in Asia Minor, to wealthy parents who died when he was young. The kind people of Lycia taught him the lessons of goodness and generosity that led to his lifelong mission to remind the world about the importance of giving.

Thoughts

This is definitely a feel good holiday story which I refer to as an advent book. There are 24 chapters to be read one at a time beginning on December 1. A great book to read with your family!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Chick Lit

Synopsis

It’s been a long time since the entire Quinn family celebrated the holidays under the same roof, but that’s about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for their most joyous holiday season ever . . . After all, Bart’ return isn’t the family’s only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle, Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society, Ava thinks she’s finally found the love of her life, and Kelley is thrilled to see his family reunited. But it just wouldn’t be a Quinn family gathering without a few surprises and upheavals. A celebration of everything we love — and some of the things we endure — about the holidays.

Thoughts

This was my favorite book of the entire series! It is probably the saddest as well as the Quinn’s prepare to say goodbye to Kelley who has terminal brain cancer. You will laugh and cry and won’t be disappointed. I cannot recommend the Winter Series enough. Get these books! I gave this book 5/5 stars. The series as a whole averaged out to 4.5/5 stars.