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 Survivors

The Survivors by Jane Harper / Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

Kieran’s parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away…

Thoughts

This book started out a little slow for me but it quickly picked up and kept my interest until the end. I absolutely loved that I had no idea who was guilty until it was revealed at the end of the book. My first Jane Harper book and I was not disappointed!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris / Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Thoughts

I have always been drawn to historical fiction and WWII stories and had heard such good things about this book. I liked that the story focused on the real life relationship that developed between Lale and Gita and how they helped each other survive the horrors of being in a concentration camp. The book didn’t blow me away but it was good and I’m glad I read it.

I gave this book 3/5 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 – A Hundred Suns

A Hundred Suns by Karin Tanabe / Genre: Historical Fiction

SYNOPSIS:

An evocative historical novel set in 1930’s Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in—and the truth she may be running from.

MY THOUGHTS:

This was the first book that I’ve read by this author. She did a beautiful job describing Indochine (which later becomes Vietnam) and making the reader feel like they were there. The book also deals a lot with societal class (upper class vs. working class . . . the haves and the have nots).

I would absolutely say that this is a slow burn but it doesn’t take too long for the story to heat up and grab the reader’s attention. As I was reading the book I felt as if the story could have almost been split into 2 separate books, but with that being said both of the story lines were tied together nicely at the end so it all made sense. A good read for anyone who enjoys this genre.

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – A Fatal Grace

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny / Genre: Mystery

SYNOPSIS:

Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.

No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death.

When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?

With his trademark compassion and courage, Gamache digs beneath the idyllic surface of village life to find the dangerous secrets long buried there. For a Quebec winter is not only staggeringly beautiful but deadly, and the people of Three Pines know better than to reveal too much of themselves. But other dangers are becoming clear to Gamache. As a bitter wind blows into the village, something even more chilling is coming for Gamache himself.

THOUGHTS:

I really enjoyed this book! It’s the second in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series and while I liked the first book (A Still Life) a lot, I think this book was even better! I was happy that some of the characters from the first book were in this one as well and I got to know them even more. Anyone who has read these books probably mentions Ruth at some point in their reviews . . . she is quite the character and I hope I will see more of her in this series!

I will be honest in that I was able to figure out ahead of time one of the twists in the book. That didn’t disappoint me though because I didn’t see the ending coming at all.

If you haven’t started reading this series, I would absolutely recommend diving in. Reading them in order is probably the best way to read them (in my opinion).

I gave this book 4.5/5 stars.

Book Review – You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

You probably know someone like Shay Miller.
She wants to find love, but it eludes her.
She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end.
She wants to belong, but her life is so isolated.

You probably don’t know anyone like the Moore sisters.
They have an unbreakable circle of friends.
They live the most glamorous life.
They always get what they desire.

Shay thinks she wants their life.
But what they really want is hers.

Thoughts:

I liked this book and it kept my interest from beginning to end; however, there weren’t that many twists and turns in it and only one that I didn’t see coming. This is the second book I’ve read by these authors and I definitely liked the other book (The Wife Between Us) better. Don’t get me wrong, this book was good but I just don’t think it was as good as the first book I read by them.

I gave this book 3/5 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 – What You Wish For

What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Thoughts:

I received an advance review ecopy of What You Wish For for free from NetGalley and am leaving this honest review voluntarily. The book is due to be published on July 14, 2020 from St. Martins Press.

I have quickly become a fan of Katherine Center’s books! Her newest book is laugh out loud funny with lovable characters. While it’s a light hearted fun read, it also tackles the serious topic of ptsd and finding joy in life after living through a tragic event. This book did not disappoint and I think it will make a great summer read this year!

I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Book Review – The Chalk Man

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Thoughts:

This book took me a bit to get into, but once I did, holy cow what a ride! I had to read it during the day because it is definitely full of creepy vibes. And let’s talk about the ending . . . blew me away!!! I’m definitely going to check out some of C.J. Tudor’s other books.

I gave this book 4/5 stars.