Book Review – Lovely War

Lovely War by Julie Berry / Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

Thoughts

Complete honesty – – – I totally bought this book because of the cover! I’m so glad I did because this book was beautifully written. I couldn’t get enough of the characters and their storylines. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the book because it reads very fast.

I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Book Review – The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman / Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. 

Thoughts

I loved everything about this book! It made me laugh. It made me cry. It gave me all the feels! The dual timeline was done so well and towards the end of the book there is a twist that I didn’t see coming. The characters were great and everyone needs an Aunt Poppy in their lives. It also makes me want to take a trip to Italy!

I gave this book 5/5 Stars.

Book Review – Mrs. Everything

Mrs Everything by Jennifer Weiner Genre: Women’s Literature/Historical Fiction

Synopsis:

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

Thoughts:

This book truly is EVERYTHING! The relationship between Jo and Bethie resonated with me and I thought about it long after finishing the book. It is beautifully written and I absolutely loved it!!! I will definitely be checking out other books written by Jennifer Weiner. I would highly recommend this book.

I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Book Review – The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist. 

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book! It had twists and turns right from the beginning and they continued throughout. The ending was awesome!! Can’t wait to read more by this author.

I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Book Review – American Dirt

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis:

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Thoughts:

There was a fare amount of controversy surrounding this book when it first came out and I did my best to not pay attention to it. I wanted to be able to read it without any preconceived opinions formed. I’m so glad I did that, because I truly loved this book!! I read it every chance I got and I thought about it when I wasn’t reading it. My heart ached for what Lydia and Luca went through and what they had to endure making their way to freedom in the U.S.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I would highly recommend doing so.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I gave this book 5/5 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 – 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 – 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.