Posted in Best of 2018, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult

The Diviners by Libba Bray @libbabray @justjanuary @audible_com #AudiobookReview #YoungAdult #Mystery #Historical #Fantasy #bestof2018

5 Naughty John Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Well colour me surprised, one of my final reads for 2018, and a new favourite added to my shelf!

I have seen a few people recently mention this audio book, and saying that the narration is great. I had a spare credit, so I thought ‘what the hell’ and clicked the purchase button, hoping that I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

Judging by my 5 ⭐ rating, you can see that it was a credit well spent!

The Blurb

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

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My Thoughts

5 Naughty John Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ’em off for a coupla stones.”

Set in the 1920’s, New York City the time of Flapper girls and prohibition, Evie O’Neill is desperate to visit there.
She is a bit of a misfit, and manages to get herself into trouble wherever she goes.

After a drunken mistake at a party one evening, she manages to rat out the local Lothario by showing everyone her ‘party trick’
Unfortunately this doesn’t go down too well with her father, who is sick and tired of her antics, so his punishment is to send her to New York to stay with her weird Uncle Will.

Pretending to be oh so sorry, Evie can’t wait to get to NYC, in fact she thinks it is Pos-i-tute-ly the Cat’s Pajamas!

After arriving in New York, she is promptly pick-pocketed, and arrives at her Uncles house, which also doubles up as The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, or as the locals call it, ‘The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies’.

Then the murders start happening, horrible, gruesome murders! But who is doing it?

Memphis is a ‘runner’, he gets everyone’s numbers to put on the draw (like a lottery)
He also looks out for his little brother Isaiah, who seems to have a strange ‘gift’ that he doesn’t want anyone else knowing about.

“The time is now. They are coming… Diviners

You see, there are rumours around that there are people with ‘powers’ they call them Diviners, and they are not wanted around there.

This book was so character driven, there are so many brilliant characters that I fell in love with, from Evie’s good friend Mabel, to Theta Knight, a glamorous Ziegfeld girl, to the the smooth talking Sam.

If you are thinking about reading this book, I would highly recommend the Audio Version, if you’ve never listened to one before, this one would be a great starter, simply because of the fantastic narration.

🎧🎧 – Narrated by January LaVoy, a new narrator for me, but certainly is going to be added to my favourites.

Her narration was Pos-i-tute-ly AMAZING! All of the characters has their own voices, I was not confused at any point, we also had a little bit of singing, and her Naughty John voice was just downright terrifying!

This was not a scary book, it is Young Adult after all, but it was I suppose a little creepy, but all in all it was a fantastic read, and I have book 2 lined up when my next credit drops in!

I hope you find this book the elephant’s eyebrows!

Vicci

Grab your copy here:

Audible US – https://amzn.to/2RsJlIi

Audible UK – https://amzn.to/2BQN3BD

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Posted in Historical Fiction, Mystery

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens #AudiobookReview #DeliaOwens #CassandraCampbell @audible_com #Mystery #MarshGirl

Hello guys,

I’m so happy to bring you a review for this wonderful story, you may have seen it around quite a lot, as it was chosen by Reece Witherspoon as her Sunshine Bookclub for September.

Believe the Hype…It’s stunning!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Southern Stars

The Blurb

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

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My Thoughts

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Southern Stars

What a beautiful story

I have to say that I tried to listen to this one…twice and struggled, I’m not sure what it was but it just didn’t grab me straight away.

This time I forced myself to carry on and listen, and I’m so glad I did because this book was just GORGEOUS!

The descriptions that the author uses are just stunning, I want to hug them all

“The morning burned so August-hot, the marsh’s moist breath hung the oaks and pines with fog.”

Kya is a happy child mostly, she lives in the Marsh area and is ‘at one’ with nature, she lives in her shack with her parents and siblings and doesn’t really see the bad in anything…until her family starts getting smaller.

One by one her siblings leave, and then it is her Mothers turn, she just leaves one day without looking back.

After a while she realises that it is because of her fathers alcoholic and abusive ways, and she is left to look after him.

She learns to live with her father, and they even become ‘friends’ for a while, but most of the time she is left for days at a time to fend for herself, while he goes out spending money they don’t have, and drinking to excess.

She learns that you don’t get ‘nothing for free’, so starts to sell what she can to the storekeeper in town, and soon makes a firm friend in him and his wife.

Kya is an incredibly knowledgeable girl, she could tell you what the weather was going to be like, just by the sound of the birds, but the one thing she cannot do is read, or write, until she meets Tate.

Gahhh, the friendship between Tate and Kya was just lovely, he really took the time to know her and help her, and I was really disappointed in him at certain points in the book!
Friends are something that Kya holds very dear, because she doesn’t have any, most of the townspeople are snobby toward her and look down their noses because she is the “Marsh-Girl”

In 1969 Chase Andrews a local football legend is found dead in the marsh area, the rumours start to fly, and The Marsh Girl’s name keeps being linked to his, but why?

This was an absolute joy to listen to, and the author Delia Owens certainly knows her stuff, she is a wildlife scientist, and this shows in her beautiful poetic writing.
I’m not at all surprised that Reece Witherspoon has chosen it to be in her Sunshine Bookclub, or that it will be coming to a movie theatre soon, I can’t wait to see it!!

🎧🎧 – Totally AMAZING narration by Cassandra Campbell, she made this listening experience even better.

Save a credit for this one it is a cracker

Vicci

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Posted in Historical Fiction

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah #KristinHannah #PollyStone #AudiobookReview #HistoricalFiction @StMartinsPress @audibleuk @audible_com

Ok, Ok I admit it, I’m late to the party to this one, I tried twice before and couldn’t get into it at all, but this time I was determined to stick with it, and I’m so glad I did, why did I doubt myself, of course this book was phenomenal!!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Nightingale Stars

The Blurb

France, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences

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⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Nightingale Stars

The Nightingale tells a story about World War II, and contrary to what I thought I was going to read about, this wasn’t about the fighting at all….well not in the way that you think, this is about the women who were left behind.

France 1939, Vianne says goodbye to her husband as he goes to the front to fight for the country, she doesn’t think for a minute that the Nazi’s will come to her town, let alone invade France, so she isn’t too worried about it.

However the realisation that this is exactly what is happening comes too quickly, and Vianne is eventually living in her house with a stranger, not just a stranger, but a Nazi officer!

She must teach her daughter to keep her head down, and her mouth shut, and take huge risks to protect and save lives of people that could get her not just into trouble, it could cost her life!

Isabelle is Vianne’s younger sister, she is always getting herself into trouble, and has always been a bit of a rebel.

She is opposite to her sister, in that she is totally ready for the Nazi’s, in fact she would be quite happy to head off to Paris to join the fight, and that is exactly what she does.

Against her sisters advice that she couldn’t do anything to help, Isabelle is determined that she can do something, so she packs a bag and sets off to Paris.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Isabelle. Paris is overrun. The Nazis control the city. What is an eighteen-year-old girl to do about all of that?”

But a difference she does make, to many lives, after joining the French Resistance with her new friend Gäetan, she was known to many as “The Nightingale” and risked her life helping others.

“On this cool October morning, her life would change. From the morning she boarded this train..

From now on, she was Juliette Gervaise, code name the Nightingale”

🎧🎧 – Narrated expertly by Polly Stone who did a wonderful job, her voice was just perfect for this book and I will definitely be looking out for other books that she has narrated.

A fantastic read that I would recommend to anyone.

Vicci

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Posted in Historical Fiction

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah #KristinHannah #HistoricalFiction #AllTheFeels @justjuliawhelan @StMartinsPress

Hello everyone,

I am so happy to bring you my review for this stunning book.

Alaska hasn’t really been anywhere on my Bucket List, but a visit may just have been added to it now after reading this piece of fabulousness.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Alaska Stars

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The Blurb

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature

My Thoughts

 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Alaska Stars

This book bought out ALL of the feels from me, I have read a few by this author, so I knew i liked her writing style, and this one blew me away!

Told through the eyes of our protagonist Lemi, we see her growing up in a household with her and her parents.

Her father was an ex POW from Vietnam, and has PTSD although in those days (1974) this had not been recognised or diagnosed yet.

Her mother was kind, sweet and always looking to make her husband happy…ALWAYS!

The rule in the house was basically, if your father is happy, then we’ll all be happy, and unfortunately, this means jumping from place to place, running from bills and creditors, and starting new schools.

Lemi doesn’t really see the bad side of the marriage, her parents manage to keep that part quiet, but she does hear the fighting, and the breaking of things, and her mother telling her that she is just clumsy and walked into a door!

The dark days really seem to set her father off, his moods change, and so does his temper.

One day when he comes home to tell them that one of his old Vietnam buddies has left him some land in Alaska and they can go and live off of the land and finally be happy, Lemi doesn’t really want to leave another school, but what makes Dad happy…….

He says that this will be the making of them, that they can be really happy there, and she believes him.

After moving there with practically nothing with them, the “cabin” (read that as shack) proves, at the beginning to be just what the family needed, and they are all so happy.
The locals are wonderful and all help them out, and Lemi finally finds somewhere where she belongs.

Until Alaska decides otherwise!

You see, for 6 months of the year, Alaska is in perpetual darkness, constant night time, Dads drinking gets the better of him, and his jealousy towards one of the locals is a recipe for disaster!

There was so much more in the book I could gush about, I could practically close my eyes and see everything the author wrote, it was such a wonderful story.

🎧🎧 Narrated by the always amazing, and one of my favourite voices, Julia Whelan, who brought every character to life, her narration was just perfect, and I can’t think of a better person to narrate this wonderful book.

Definitely save a credit for this one guys, it’s a Feeler 😥😭

Vicci x

Grab your copy here:

Audio
Kindle

 

Posted in Contemporary Romance, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid @justjuliawhelan #AlmaCuervo #RobinMiles #AudioBookReview #Historical #Romance

I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a review for this gorgeous piece of fabulousness!

This is probably to date one of my favourite audios this year, it is THAT good.

Believe the hype that this one is getting, I picked it up and went in blind, which I’m so glad I did as I would never have done so otherwise as it not my usual type of story.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 6 Timeless Beauty Stars

The Blurb

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

My Thoughts

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 6 Timeless Beauty Stars
I kept seeing this book pop up everywhere and everyone is loving it, so, even though it is not my usual type of story, i jumped in without reading the blurb.
This book deserves ALL of the hype and then some!!
I cannot recommend this book of perfection enough, honestly, it is just so beautiful.
Evelyn Hugo is an icon to a lot of people, she was the style icon for women and men around the world, Women wanted to look like her, and men wanted to bed her, and lots did.
She was Hollywood’s 50’s glamour girl, a movie star, a sex symbol – think Marilyn Monroe / Jayne Mansfield / Elizabeth Taylor.
When budding journalist Monique gets a call at work for her to visit Evelyn, well she jumps at the chance just like anyone would.
The request is for Monique… JUST Monique, but why her?
Deciding that she wants Monique to write her memoirs, Evelyn then tells us the story of her rise in Hollywood, and the thing that everyone wants to know, out of her 7 husbands, who was the greatest love of her life?
This gets answered in spades and we learn a hell of a lot about Evelyn, sometimes, not so good things about her.
We learn about her using her strengths *cough* Boobs *cough* to get herself ahead in the business, we learn about her actually falling in love and who with, we learn about an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love.
We learn that, even though Hollywood is this glamorous place that we all seem to view through rose tinted glasses, it actually is a place that strips you of your own self, your heritage, your name, even the people who you are “supposed” to be in love with.
Oh how I cried reading/listening to this, by the time you have read to near the end of the book, Evelyn feels like a real person, i even googled her because i thought that she was an old Hollywood actress (spoiler, she isn’t)
🎧🎧 – Narrated by the always wonderful Julia Whelan and 2 new-to-me narrators Alma Cuervo and Robin Miles, this was one of the best books i have listened to in a long long time.
If you really want to read something that is going to become a best BEST seller, and I have absolutely no doubt a movie for sure, then you should pick up this stunning piece of gorgeousness.

Be happy, and be yourself

Vicci

Posted in Historical Fiction

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by #HeatherMorris @RCArmitage #LaleSokolov #TheTattoistOfAuschwitz #HistoricalFiction #AudioBookReview

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 Heart-breakingly beautiful stars

Synopsis

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz and eventually made their home in Australia. In that terrible place, Lale was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – literally scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Lale used the infinitesimal freedom of movement that this position awarded him to exchange jewels and money taken from murdered Jews for food to keep others alive. If he had been caught, he would have been killed; many owed him their survival.

There have been many books about the Holocaust – and there will be many more. What makes this one so memorable is Lale Sokolov’s incredible zest for life. He understood exactly what was in store for him and his fellow prisoners, and he was determined to survive – not just to survive but to leave the camp with his dignity and integrity intact, to live his life to the full. Terrible though this story is, it is also a story of hope and of courage. It is also – almost unbelievably – a love story. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight, and he determined not only to survive himself but to ensure that Gita did, too. His story – their story – will make you weep, but you will also find it uplifting. It shows the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances.

Like many survivors, Lale and Gita told few people their story after the war. They eventually made their way to Australia, where they raised a son and had a successful life. But when Gita died, Lale felt he could no longer carry the burden of their past alone. He chose to tell his story.

Review

Before starting this book i knew that it was going to be a tough one, I was not silly enough to think that it was going to be a fluffy romance, but ahh this book!!

I also did not know that it was based on a true story, i know obviously Auschwitz is true, but this is also the true story about Lale Sokolov and his “romance story” with the love of his life Gita.

The horror that one man can endure and feel has been put into this book and is sometimes overwhelming, and that is a good thing, it should never be forgotten what happened in these camps, it should never be forgotten what these people went through.

Lale was taken to Auschwitz in 1942 he was 26 years old.

He offered his services when the Nazi’s came to his town, he was told that one member had to go and help them and the rest of the family would be saved, Lale stepped up to the mark, his older brother had a wife and a child so he thought that it would be best for him to stay and look after her.

At that time he and the rest of the world were unaware of the horrors that he would see and endure, he just thought he was helping his family!

On arrival he was stripped of his name and given the number 32407 which was tattooed onto his arm, along with the thousands of other arrivals.

He was set to work, firstly lugging bricks, and then on the rooftops of the new buildings of the ever extending camp.

One day he got really sick with typhiod, a disease that was swarming through the camps, a man took care of him, his name was Pepan.

Pepan was the man that had Tattooed him on the day that he arrived at the camp, after that Pepan took him under his wing and used him as an apprentice, he taught him the trade and also how to keep his head down and his mouth shut!

One day Pepan disappeared, so Lale was crowned the new “Tetovierer” (Camp Tattooist) – Lale never saw Pepan again.

Because Lale was fluent in 5 or 6 languages he learned to hover around and collect information, and because of his new job he was given preferential treatment, he was given better lodgings and extra helpings at dinner, which Lale saved and gave out to his friends in Block 29 where he was first stationed.

While he was tattooing new prisnners one day he met Gita, he tattooed her arm with the number 34902, he never forgot that number, they tried to meet each other and sometimes managed fleeting glances and stolen kisses, much to the dismay of his German Officer in charge of him, his extra rations soon started to go to her.

He also managed to gain gems and money from dealings with some of the other prisoners, so he started exchanging these for extra food, this was like currency in the camps and Lale soon became the man to go to for anything.

There are, as you would think, a lot of harrowing stories inside this book, but also a lot of love.

My heart was in my mouth a few times, especially with Josef Mengele hovering around and telling him that he will be next!

The Authors Notes, and Following at the end of the book is beautiful and the Afterward from Lale and Gita’s son Gary made me tear up.

🎧🎧 – Narration by Richard Armitage was outstanding, his accents were wonderful and his voice was just perfect for this story.

Save a credit for this one guys, it is well worth it.

Prepare yourself,

Vicci

P.S – I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz a couple of years ago, and it was truly the most strange place I have ever been, it is still as grim as it is portrayed in books and pictures, and the government and workers there have done well to keep it as it should be, a museum that portrays the horrors that went on there.

They haven’t “Disneyfied” it, and they are very respectful.

You cannot just go and walk around chatting, you have a guide and you go around in small groups, you have earphones on and the guide talks into a microphone so you don’t hear anyone else talking.

Krakow itself is beautiful, and seeped in history and well worth a visit.

We should never forget!

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Learn more about Lale and his story here:- The Tattooist of Auschwitz – and his secret love

Posted in Blog Tour, Historical Fiction, Mystery

The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources @NatKleinman

Happy first day of May! Hope the weather is treating you well🌻

Today I am happy to be part of the blog tour for this little historical romance with the perfect touch of the paranormal…

The Ghost of Glendale

The Ghost of Glendale

At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.

Ghost-EBOOK-cvr TGoG (3 MB)
Purchase from Amazon UK –  http://amzn.to/2DKo8yB

Natale Kleinman - Author PhotoAuthor Bio – Natalie is a published novelist and short story writer whose addiction to the books of Georgette Heyer and love of The Regency have been the inspiration for her latest book, The Ghost of Glendale.

Working on the premise that you never stop learning, she goes to any and every writing event and workshop she can. In addition she attends The Write Place Creative Writing School in Hextable in Kent, one of the rewards for which is an abundant supply of cream cakes to celebrate the frequent successes of its students.

Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She lives with her husband in southeast London.

Social Media Links –

Blog: https://nataliekleinman.blogspot.co.uk/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieKleinmanAuthor/
Twitter: @NatKleinman

Review

4 Ghostly Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

This was a lovely historical romance with just the perfect touch of paranormal…. so even if you are somebody who does not enjoy the paranormal I think you will still enjoy this book… additionally for such a short book it sure did pack a big punch… a lot went on in this book… this book really did have a little bit of everything the romance between Phoebe and Duncan… their relationship was so real and developed at such a wonderful pace, you really could feel the attraction between these two…. and then we have the ghost, is there really a ghost? And if so why is he still haunting Glendale? And that leads us to the mystery and the tragic and lovely story of Simon and Agnes…. A little taste of Romeo and Juliet…

When I first started this book I had forgot it was historical… but from the very first dialogue I knew it was, the author did a tremendous job of setting the time period… The only small issue I had with this book was it was difficult to connect with the characters… although that is consistently a problem with a book of this length… especially when it is as heavy on plot as this book was…..

Recommend for those afternoons when you have time to curl up with a book and read it cover to cover…

*** thank you to the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book ***

Happy reading! Berit 💛

The Ghost of Glendale Full Banner

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch ~ #bookreview @Clynchwriter @StMartinsPress

The Italian Party

The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

4.5 Fantastico Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5.

Synopsis

A delicious and sharply funny page-turner about “innocent” Americans abroad in 1950s Siena, Italy. Newly married, Scottie and Michael are seduced by Tuscany’s famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.

When Scottie’s Italian teacher–a teenager with secrets of his own–disappears, her search for him leads her to discover other, darker truths about herself, her husband and her country. Michael’s dedication to saving the world from communism crumbles as he begins to see that he is a pawn in a much different game. Driven apart by lies, Michael and Scottie must find their way through a maze of history, memory, hate and love to a new kind of complicated truth.

Half glamorous fun, half an examination of America’s role in the world, and filled with sun-dappled pasta lunches, prosecco, charming spies and horse racing, The Italian Party is a smart pleasure.

Review

Grande Successo! this book was an unexpected Gem for me….Siena,Italy 1956….Two Young newly married Americans…. full of secrets and hope….

Scottie and Michael are newly married…. both of them came to the marriage with many secrets and for different reasons…. Michael works for Ford selling tractors to the Italian farmers…. but he has a hidden agenda… he wants to bring the American Capitalistic ways to Italy and fight communism…..scottie is a girl that got herself in trouble and the only way she sees out is by marrying somebody and becoming the perfect wife…. so what happens when two people that hardly know each other move to a country where they don’t know anybody?

Michael and Scottie were very well-developed characters… I felt for both of them… they both really wanted to do the right thing but they both got themselves into some pretty tough situations….. situations that would not be a big deal today but this is 1956…. I really loved that this book was set during this timeperiod As well…. there are very few books that I have read set in the late 50s, and this is probably the only book I’ve read set in Italy during that time….. for me Italy itself is a character in any book I read that takes place there, it seems like such a colorful culture…. and all that delicious food!

This wasn’t a book filled with twists and turns, but it sure kept me turning the pages…. I was so invested in how Michael and Scottie were going to work this out…. how and when were secrets going to be revealed? How were people going to react? I also was fascinated with the Italian political culture at the time…. I am not a huge historical fiction person, but this was an absolutely compelling read….

Strongly recommend to fans of historical fiction or anybody who loves a good story….

*** thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***

Godere (enjoy),

Berit

Posted in Historical Fiction

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown #bookreview #southernfiction @taybrown

Gods of Howl Mountain

Coming To Shelves Near You On March 20, 2018

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown

4 sassy southern stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis

In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.

Review

This book was true southern grit lit (I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it sure does describe this book perfectly)… I really do enjoy southern Fiction…. the south seems to be very rich with fascinating history…..

This was a character driven novel and I absolutely adored the characters in this book…. Granny May was the best! if I lived in the Appalachians in the 50’s I’d want to be just like her…. without her past…. OK maybe I wouldn’t want to be just like her, but she sure was an amazing and interesting character…. she told you how it was and was not politically correct in how she told you… she also dabbled in herbal healing which I found extremely interesting…. and which also made her neighbors believe she could possibly be a witch….. Rory her grandson who she raised because his mother had a breakdown of sorts was also an interesting character….. Home from the Korean war with scars both on the inside and out…. Rory believed if he found the answers to all of his questions he will find closure, but some answers lead to even more questions…..

The pace of this book was a bit slow and I also found it a little wordy…. there was a lot going on moonshiners, stock car races, snake handling, love interest, secrets, family feud, etc. I think it all tied up neatly and nicely at the end….. however I spent a lot of the book a bit overwhelmed with everything that was going on….

There are a lot of amazing reviews for this book and I really wish I loved it as much as others…. but for the reasons stated above I didn’t, I really liked it I just did not love it…. I would recommend if you are a fan of southern fiction, historical fiction, and very descriptive writing with some fun quirky characters thrown in….

*** i’d like to thank the publisher and Net Galley for a copy of this book ***

Do you have southern roots?

Berit

Before We Were Yours – Sunday Swaps

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 6 wonderful stars

Blurb

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Trainand The Nightingale.

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’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery 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 redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Review

**If you think this sounds familiar, it is probably because Berit has already reviewed it.  To see her review, you can go to Berit’s Review.  Thank you Berit for making me read a book that i probably would never have picked up 😘**

This book was just wonderful, i thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio book, expertly narrated by Emily Rankin & Catherine Taber.

I try not to read the blurb on books that i have been recommended as i tent to be put off, so as normal i went in to this one blind.

It wasn’t until i had got about halfway through that i realized that it is based on a true story!!!!!

This story is loosely based around the story of Georgia Tann, The Tennessee Children’s Home Society, and her involvement in the kidnapping, and child trafficking of hundreds of children.

Often mothers still heavy with sedation were told that the baby they had just delivered had died, or were just made to sign a paper, not really knowing that they were signing away their child.

Other ways of stealing children, well just taking them from your front porch was a normal occurrence!

This woman used to advertise the children in the papers as a “Live Christmas Present” or something equally as disturbing, but the thing is, people loved her, they saw a woman helping poor little orphans out, they didn’t see that behind closed doors the children were being beaten and physically/sexually abused.

In fact she was loved so much that movie stars and “well to do” people used to get children from her, the move star Joan Crawford actually got her 2 children (twins) from Georgia Tann at the Childrens home.

To this day some of the children that were taken from their parents have never found their families again, that is just so sad.

Even though this was a sad story to read, the way that the author writes was like pure poetry on the pages, and i loved it!

Actual Newspaper advertisements.

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Enjoy,

Vicci