Posted in Blog Tour

In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael McLellan @mclellanbooks @rrbooktours1 #bookreview

Michael McLellan1

Today I have something a little different for you! This blog tour is for two amazing novels by author, Michael McLellan. I will be sharing my review of In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, in addition to excerpts from both books and a giveaway to enter!

32886177In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

Publication Date: April 26th, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history

My Thoughts

Michael McLellan has written a raw and emotional story about a dark but important time in our country‘s history. This book touches on both The atrocities of slavery and the abysmal treatment of Native Americans. It is a hard pill to swallow that there is so much hate running through our country‘s history, but I think it is important for us to acknowledge this and hopefully learn from it. Mr. McLellan is a brilliant storyteller who has woven together this compelling story that is simultaneously beautiful and ugly.

The book starts off with two seemingly separate storylines. Henry a freed slave who is heading towards the north to start his new life. John Elliot an army lieutenant who has been sent out west and soon learns of the governments plans to kill off the Indians. It is ultimately Standing Elk Who unites these characters as well as Clara John’s fiancé. Each one of these characters were so well drawn, so vivid, so substantial, and sympathetic. My heart broke and my hope sword for each of these characters. But I have to say Henry really tugged at my heart strings, his grief and despair were palpable. This book was so well researched, almost too realistic at times. The story does not paint a pretty picture, no punches are held. A well told character driven story about a vile time in our country’s past.

This book in three emojis: 🌳 ⛅️ 🎗

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

Emmet Dawson pulled the crumpled sheets of Henry and Eliza’s free papers from his coat and held them close to his face, squinting. “…Samuel Cromwell.” He held the papers out. “Can you read these?”

Henry averted his eyes. “No, sir,” he lied.

“No, of course you can’t. It’s not only near to impossible to teach a nigger to read but it’s also against the law—God’s and man’s.” He lowered the papers to his side. “These jayhawkers are burning and pillaging their way across our great state. They’re murdering innocent Missouri families in their sleep, then setting niggers loose on the land like a pestilence. That boy’s an orphan. His father, his mother, and his little baby sister were inside the house when it was set fire. They were unable to escape. We found their niggers a few miles away, riding their horses and leading their pigs just like they had the right to. We are at war, Henry. We are at war to save our families and our way of life.”

Emmet turned and looked at Bob. “Hang him with the others.”

Eliza let out an anguished wail and dropped to her knees where she began screaming hysterically. Henry tried to kneel down with her but Bob yanked the rope tight and wrapped it on his saddle horn. This left Henry standing at an awkward lean as he tried not to drag Eliza.

“What about the woman?” Bob asked.

Emmet Dawson looked down at Eliza appraisingly. “Shut her up and tie her to my wagon…and here,” he handed Bob the free papers. “Pin these to his shirt. There aren’t any free niggers in Missouri.” He gave Henry a final stony look then walked into the camp.

Available on Amazon

35618158American Flowers

Publication Date: July 7th, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Drama

*Triggers: Addiction, Abuse, Sexual Assault

Nineteen-year-old Chris Shafer and seventeen-year-old Allie Laughton came from similar backgrounds of neglect and indifference. Chris spent his childhood desperately trying to gain his alcoholic parents’ love. Allie was dragged through an ugly divorce before narrowly escaping being molested by her mother’s new boyfriend.

A chance meeting draws the two together and Allie is quickly caught up in Chris’ new-found lifestyle. Plagued by poor choices, Chris sets into motion a chain of events that drags them deeper into the murky world of meth. Ultimately pursued by both the police and Chris’ volatile tempered drug dealer, Chris and Allie are forced to confront their only real enemy: themselves.

Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

“You’re poison to that girl. You do see that?”

“We love each other and don’t want to be apart.”

“What do you know about love?” Jan suddenly spat, leaning forward in the easy chair and staring angrily at Chris.

“You listen to me. The only truly unbreakable love is that of a parent for their child. All the other kinds of love, like the kind you and that beautiful young girl in there think you have is fragile and weak, and saddest of all, fleeting. That kind of love can be broken in an instant”—she snapped her arthritis twisted fingers for emphasis, making more of a dry papery sound than a snap. “It can be broken by the smallest of indiscretions, or nothing more than a few poorly chosen words. Mostly it’s just worn away over time like the banks of that creek out there. And it’ll happen so slowly that you never even feel more than a faint tickle at the back of your mind. Oh, it can burn as hot as blue blazes for a moment, but eventually it burns out and leaves something entirely different behind…like the bed of ashes in the bottom of a woodstove after the fire’s gone out. Some folks still insist on calling it love, but it isn’t, not really. It’s obligation, it’s responsibility, it’s apathy. Often it just becomes who you are…what you’re accustomed to. Sometimes it even becomes hate.

Available on Amazon!

giveaway gif

Click HERE for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

About the Author

Mike Author 1

Michael’s love of books began with Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle when he was seven-years-old. Later influenced by the works of John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Stephen King, James Baldwin, and Cormac McCarthy, Michael developed his style of storytelling. A self-proclaimed blue-collar writer, he draws on his experiences and observations to bring relevant and compelling topics to life.

Michael lives in Northern California and when he’s not writing, he can usually be found wandering around the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.

His body of work includes the 2014 novel After and Again, the 2015 novel American Flowers, and the 2017 novel, In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree, as well as various shorts and essays.

Michael McLellan | GoodreadsTwitter

Michael McLellan2

Blog Tour Organized By:

R&RButto200x200

R&R Book Tours

Posted in Blog Tour

The Third Daughter by Talia Carner @wmmorrowbooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #thethirddaughter

Happy Wednesday all!

Excited to share my review with you today for this book that showcased a part of history I was not familiar with. That is the thing I enjoy most about historical fiction learning important things about the past.🌎

My Thoughts

Talia Carner has written a raw, heartbreaking, disturbing, and important story. One of the things I like most about historical fiction is it is an engaging and entertaining way to learn about our past. This book spotlights a part of history I was not previously aware of. Thousands of eastern European women at the turn of the 20th century being tricked into moving to South America where they will work as prostitutes anti-Semitism was prevalent in Eastern Europe and these young girls and their families were hopeful for a better life in the Americas. There is no way to paint this desolate situation in a good light, but this book handled it with a loving and gentle hand. This book was not always easy to read, but I believe it is so necessary because human trafficking is still going on. And these girl’s deserve to have their stories told.

Batya and her family are living a life of poverty in Russia. When a stranger approaches offering Batya a Life of riches filled with big mansions and society events The family feels as though this could be their way out. The only thing is that young Batya will move to Argentina on her own and in a couple years at the age of 16 she will marry this man. When Batya arrives in Argentina she realizes all the promises were falls and she finds herself in a life full of beatings, rape, and prostitution. Batya was such a sympathetic character my heart could not help but break for her. She was so strong, so determined, and so angry. I loved the bond she found with the other girls in the house and I admired how she never lost her desire to reunite with her family. She was also extremely resourceful eventually finding love and even becoming a well-known tango dancer. This was such an important story about a determined girl and her relentless fight for a better life.

This book in three emojis: 🌎 💃🏼 💪🏻

About The Third Daughter

• Paperback: 432 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 3, 2019)

“In The Third Daughter, Talia Carner ably illuminates a little-known piece of history: the sex trafficking of young women from Russia to South America in the late 19th century. Thoroughly researched and vividly rendered, this is an important and unforgettable story of exploitation and empowerment that will leave you both shaken and inspired.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

The turn of the 20th century finds fourteen-year-old Batya in the Russian countryside, fleeing with her family endless pogroms. Desperate, her father leaps at the opportunity to marry Batya to a worldly, wealthy stranger who can guarantee his daughter an easy life and passage to America.

Feeling like a princess in a fairytale, Batya leaves her old life behind as she is whisked away to a new world. But soon she discovers that she’s entered a waking nightmare. Her new “husband” does indeed bring her to America: Buenos Aires, a vibrant, growing city in which prostitution is not only legal but deeply embedded in the culture. And now Batya is one of thousands of women tricked and sold into a brothel.

As the years pass, Batya forms deep bonds with her “sisters” in the house as well as some men who are both kind and cruel. Through it all, she holds onto one dream: to bring her family to America, where they will be safe from the anti-Semitism that plagues Russia. Just as Batya is becoming a known tango dancer,  she gets an unexpected but dangerous opportunity—to help bring down the criminal network that has enslaved so many young women and has been instrumental in developing Buenos Aires into   a major metropolis.

A powerful story of finding courage in the face of danger, and hope in the face of despair, The Third Daughter brings to life a dark period of Jewish history and gives a voice to victims whose truth deserves to finally be told.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Robbie Michaels

About Talia Carner

Talia Carner is the former publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women’s economic forums. This is her fifth novel.

Find out more about Talia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Blog Tour

Castle of Concrete by Katia Raina @tlcbooktours #bookreview #castleofconcrete

happy Monday evening all!

excited to share with you today my review for this delightful story! I love historical fiction because it always teaches me something that I did not already know, and this one taught me a lot! Thanks much to Trish for my invitation to this tour.

My Thoughts

Katia Raina brought the Soviet Union in the 1990s to life with her vivid writing. This book really made me realize how unaware I was of world events when I was 20. I did know that communism and the Soviet Union were crumbling, I did know there was a Gorbachev, but there was also much I did not know. This book did a marvelous job of enlightening me on important historical events by interweaving them into this story about this delightful girl. Sonia has spent most of her life living in Siberia with her grandmother, but now she has returned to Moscow to live with her mother. Not only does she now have to fit into a new school, but she is also torn between her Russian and her Jewish roots. Sonia really had a magnanimous personality, being a teenager is tough in the best of circumstances, I really admired her fortitude. I also felt so deeply for her, the poor girl was falling for a boy who was further tearing her in different directions. And her mother, I like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I truly don’t think she always had a handle on the big picture. Beautifully told, highly engaging, A lovely story that taught me a thing or two about historical world events.

About Castle of Concrete

• Paperback: 304 pages
• Publisher: Young Europe Books (June 11, 2019)

Set in the final year of Soviet Russia’s collapse, this stunning debut novel tells the story of Sonya, a timid Jewish girl reuniting with her once-dissident mother and falling in love with a mysterious boy who may be an anti-Semite. All the while, Sonya’s mama is falling in love also?with shiny America, a land where differences seem to be celebrated. The place sounds amazing, but so far away. Will Sonya ever find her way there?

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About Katia Raina

When she was a child, Katia Raina played at construction sites and believed in magic mirrors. She emigrated from Russia at the age of almost sixteen. A former journalist and currently a middle school English teacher in Washington, D.C., she has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family just outside of D.C., and still believes in magic.

Find out more about Katia at her website, and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Posted in Blog Tour

The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin @wmmorrowbooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #theaccidentals

Happy Monday all!

Delighted to share with you today my review for this engaging story. A beautiful story packed with interesting characters. Thanks Trish for my invitation to the tour!🦚

My Thoughts

Minrose Gwin has written a beautiful story packed with Drama, tragedy, family, and hope. Life is complicated and the characters in this story had way more than their fair share of complicated situations. This family drama spans five decades of hurt and healing. The primary focus of the story is on sisters Grace and June, but we do get the point of view of several other characters. The story starts off with the death of Grace and June’s mother after a botched backstreet abortion. Grace carries around a lot of grief and guilt in regards to the death of her mother and this leads to some questionable choices in her own life. June is also struggling and this leads to her own poor decisions. When June betrays her sister in a big way a huge divide develops both physically and emotionally in the girls relationship. What follows is a heartbreaking story of hardship and regret that will eventually bring the sisters back together, and it only takes 50 years.

The book really makes you think about limitations that women had in the 1950s and 1960s. I personally thought that the issues that the women in this book struggled with and how they overcame them or didn’t really was the best part of the story. I’m not certain if I liked either Grace or June, but I really was rooting for them, these girls had a hard life. There were a few places the book fell a little flat for me. There was just way too much going on. I know the author was trying to give us a sense of time and place, but in doing so I think a lot was overlooked (everything having to do with the spacerace I felt that have been left out). The book was also extremely lopsided, most of the book focus on the first 10 years of the sisters lives and then raced through the final 40 years. I think I would’ve preferred it to end after the first 10 years and then conclude with a apologue. I mean I did not mind the book being wrapped up in a nice little bow, but it jumped around aimlessly in order to get there. But as I said this was such a small part of the book that it didn’t really bother me, for the most part I was thoroughly invested in the sisters lives.

*** Big thanks to William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

About The Accidentals

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 13, 2019)

Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlister daughters have to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choices—an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.

Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.”

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life–seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.

Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s, The Accidentals is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kim Jew Photography Studios

About Minrose Gwin

Minrose Gwin is the author of The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and the memoir Wishing for Snow, cited by Booklist as “eloquent” and “lyrical”—“a real life story we all need to know.” She has written four scholarly books and coedited The Literature of the American South. She grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, hearing stories of the Tupelo tornado of 1936. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Find out more about Minrose at her website.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review

Montauk by Nicola Harrison @NicolaHAuthor @StMartinsPress @MacmillanAudio #bookreview #audiobook #Montauk

Happy Friday y’all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this delightful story that transported me to 1938 Montauk! Another wonderful debut, this has really been a great year for debuts!🤩

My Thoughts

sᴜɴ. sᴀʟᴛ. sᴀɴᴅ. ᴍᴏɴᴛᴀᴜᴋ.

Nicola Harrison completely captivated me with this dazzling tale set against the backdrop of 1938 Montauk Long Island. The story had a great sense of place and time. You really got a good handle on the role of women and the class divide in the late 1930s. Sometimes a character would do or say something that would make me cringe and I had to put it in perspective and realize this was a different place and time. This was a romance with a historical setting rather than historical fiction with some romance. Beatrice is a strong smart savvy woman who finds herself in a loveless and childless marriage. Excited and a little hesitant to spend her summer on Montauk Beatrice is hopeful to rekindle things with her husband. When she finds out that he will only be spending the weekends with her she is less than thrilled how is she going to pass her time with these women that she has nothing in common with? Fortunately Beatrice befriends Dolly an older and wiser woman and Elizabeth a local who does laundry for the hotel. Beatrice finds herself more drawn to the locals and the natural beauty of Montauk rather than the socialites and the glitz. When she meets Thomas the lighthouse keeper there is an instant attraction. He is kind and caring and authentic the complete opposite of Beatrice‘s husband Harry. As the summer goes on Beatrice realizes that she is going to need to choose between a life of luxury and true love.

Beatrice was such a likable character I really wanted her to find her happily ever after even if she was technically cheating. Her husband was unfaithful, inattentive, and a misogynist, so I guess I gave her a bit of a pass. I could also see why she was drawn to a simpler life in this charming fishing village rather than trying to position herself all the time in society. Her friend Dolly was such a breath of fresh air. She was so spunky, so ahead of her time, and such a great support to Beatrice. And the hats! Oh the hats! Elizabeth was also a great character a little quieter but just as supportive. The romance in the story was so sweet and tender, I could really sense the chemistry between Thomas and Beatrice. The ending to the story really took me by surprise, and I’m still not quite sure what to think. In the audiobook there was an interview with the author at the end and she said that she always knew that was how the book was going to end. This book is the perfect addition to your summer reading plans. A little romance. A little glamour. A little history. And a whole lot of goodness.

🎧🎧🎧 Erin Bennett narrates the audio and really brings life to the story. Bringing a voice to the character of Beatrice who this entire story is told through the eyes of. In the author interview on the audio Nicola Harrison mentions that she hears the characters voices in her head as she is writing. I thought that was so interesting and how exciting it must be for an author to hear their story brought to life through audio.

*** thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 
For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 
College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 
As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 
Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has, when fates conspire to tear her world apart…
Buy Links:

About the Author

Born in England, Nicola Harrison moved to CA where she received a BA in Literature at UCLA before moving to NYC and earning an MFA in creative writing at Stony Brook. She is a member of The Writers Room, has short stories published in The Southampton Review and Glimmer Train and articles in Los Angeles Magazine and Orange Coast Magazine. She was the fashion and style staff writer for Forbes, had a weekly column at Lucky Magazine and is the founder of a personal styling business, Harrison Style. Montauk is Harrison’s debut novel.

Let’s Connect!

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have a magnificent day!🌼

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig @LaurenWillig @wmmorrowbooks @tlcbooktours @harperaudio #bookreview #audiobooks #thesummercountry

Happy Tuesday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this wonderful book that completely captivated me! many thanks to Trish for my invitation to this tour.🏝

About The Summer Country

 

A brilliant, multigenerational saga in the tradition of THE THORN BIRDS and NORTH AND SOUTH, New York Timesbestselling historical novelist Lauren Willig delivers her biggest, boldest, and most ambitious novel yet—a sweeping Victorian epic of lost love, lies, jealousy, and rebellion set in colonial Barbados.

Barbados, 1854: Emily Dawson has always been the poor cousin in a prosperous English merchant clan– merely a vicar’s daughter, and a reform-minded vicar’s daughter, at that. Everyone knows that the family’s lucrative shipping business will go to her cousin, Adam, one day.  But when her grandfather dies, Emily receives an unexpected inheritance: Peverills, a sugar plantation in Barbados—a plantation her grandfather never told anyone he owned.

When Emily accompanies her cousin and his new wife to Barbados, she finds Peverills a burnt-out shell, reduced to ruins in 1816, when a rising of enslaved people sent the island up in flames. Rumors swirl around the derelict plantation; people whisper of ghosts.

Why would her practical-minded grandfather leave her a property in ruins?  Why are the neighboring plantation owners, the Davenants, so eager to acquire Peverills? The answer lies in the past— a tangled history of lies, greed, clandestine love, heartbreaking betrayal, and a bold bid for freedom.

THE SUMMER COUNTRY will beguile readers with its rendering of families, heartbreak, and the endurance of hope against all odds.

My Thoughts

𝔹𝕖𝕒𝕦𝕥𝕚𝕗𝕦𝕝 𝕤𝕖𝕥𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘. 𝕃𝕠𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕪 𝕤𝕥𝕠𝕣𝕪 .

Lauren Willig will completely captivate you with this sweeping family saga. A beautiful story that spans over four decades. Steeped in family history, family secrets, and family ties. The story is set in Barbados and introduces you to two sets of characters living 40 years apart. 1850to Emily‘s beloved grandfather has passed away and left her a sugar plantation on the island of Barbados. So Emily travels from England to Barbados with her cousin Adam and his wife to check out this plantation that nobody had any idea of. What follows is Emily discovering family history and secrets with deep ties to Barbados. In 1812 Charles and Jenny find themselves in a torrid and forbidden love affair with great consequences. Two tales seamlessly woven together into one beautiful engaging story.

This book was clearly well researched and I learned something about a time and place I new little about previously. Slavery and the slave trade were a big part of life in Barbados in the early 1800s. I have to admit it was really disturbing to read about people referring to other people as their property and talking about leasing them out. The Cholera outbreak in the 1850s was not as disturbing but was equally as devastating. There was a large cast of characters in the story that took me a while to get straight, but once I did I was completely invested. The story jumped perfectly between time periods that were well marked.Lauren’s Willig’s exquisite storytelling will completely transport you to 19th century Barbados. A well told story full of interesting characters and an engaging plot. A sweeping tale that will appeal to all historical fiction lovers.

🎧🎧🎧 Micola Barber does an exceptional job narrating the audio of this book. So many accents that she completely Masters. The audio narration added another layer to this already exquisite story.

*** many thanks to Harper Audio and William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Amanda Suanne Photography

About Lauren Willig

Lauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several novels. She lives in New York City with her family.

Find out more about Lauren at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Blog Tour

The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns @author_AnaJohns @harlequinbooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #thewomaninthewhitekimono

Happy almost weekend!

Thrilled to share with you my review for this beautiful story that transported me to 1950s Japan! Thank you so much Lisa for my invitation to the tour!👘

My Thoughts

𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐮𝐥. 𝐄𝐯𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞. 𝐌𝐞𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠.

Ana Johns swept me away with her words and her stunning storytelling. Two women, two countries, thousands of miles and decades of years apart, but there is something that binds them. Japan 1957 Naoko finds herself caught between love, culture, and family obligations. Naoko is 17 and her parents have arranged a marriage for her, a marriage that will help her family’s business out immensely. The problem is Naoko is in love with another man, an American soldier. Not only does this not go over well with her family, but it does not go over well with most of Japan who still sees America as the enemy in this post WWII era. But Naoko is determined to follow her heart, but how much will she lose in the process? The US, present day Tori is taking care of her ailing father when she discovers a letter full of secrets. After her dad passes away she sells his beloved Cadillac and takes a journey to Japan to find out the truth.

Beautifully told, I was completely mesmerized by Miss Johns’ writing. I know I’ve mentioned this before in a review but I find the eastern culture fascinating and I am always excited to read about this part of the world. I truly had no idea there was so much hatred towards America in Japan after WWII, but why wouldn’t there be? I could only imagine how challenging this relationship was for Naoko, although I think she was a little naïve as to what all was implied. I found her to be a bit of a contradiction she was strong and feisty, but had the innocence of a child. What she went through was horrific, and it is incredible that I have read so many books that take place in so many different parts of the world where women are subjected to similar situations. The sad thing is I’d venture to guess things like this are still going on today in certain parts of the world. While I found Naoko’s story more compelling than Tori’s, tori’s story might have been the more important one. I like how the storylines were brought together, but it sure did not end how I was hoping it would. Although there is probably more truth in tragedy.

The story seamlessly bounces between time and perspective. You will never get lost because the chapters are clearly labeled as to time and place. I really dlove the time the book spent in Japan it was so interesting. And can I just say something about these capsule hotels, I cannot imagine sleeping in one of these capsules that is only 4 feet tall? Stacked on top of each other? I’m certain I am coming across naïve or spoiled, but it just sounds very uncomfortable. Doesn’t really have anything to do with the book, Tori just stayed in one of these hotels. If I were her I would’ve stayed in one of those traditional homes turned into a hotel with steaming baths with essential oil’s, just saying. LOL all this is just to say the book was so well researched and I felt as though I was transported to Japan. Simply put this is a beautiful story full of so much culture, history, and love.

*** Big thanks to Harlequin/ Park Rowe for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Ana

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Let’s Connect!

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have a magnificent day!🌼

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa @ArmandoCorrea @AtriaBooks @tlcbooktours #bookreview #thedaughterstale

Happy Tuesday afternoon/evening!

I have another review today for a wonderful historical fiction novel. I am always inspired and humbled by WWII books. Thank you so much to Lisa for my invitation to this tour! 🗝

My Thoughts

𝔖𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔫𝔤𝔱𝔥. ℜ𝔢𝔰𝔦𝔩𝔦𝔢𝔫𝔠𝔢. ℌ𝔬𝔭𝔢.

This was a compelling story about love, heartbreak, and sacrifice. No matter how many books I read about WWII I am always shocked by the horrors of war and The resilience of humans. Amanda was a happily married mother and the owner of her family bookshop. Then things begin to change. The books were ordered to be burned, her husband was sent away, and her daughters’ lives were in danger. Amanda’s one goal now is the survival of her daughters and she will sacrifice whatever it takes to ensure their safety. 80 years later Elise receives letters written by her mother all those decades ago. Letters that make her face secrets, some she has live with and some she never knew. Who are you really, when you’ve lived someone else’s nlife? This book wove some true events into the story. Including book burning, the annihilation of a French Village, and a boat of German refugees heading to Cuba. This is something I really love about historical fiction, you always learn something while reading.

This book grab me from the first page. The writing was straightforward and concise, and I thought that was perfect for the subject matter. My heart broke for Amanda and I was humbled by her strength. The atrocities of war are so disturbing, so dark, so unfortunate. The bulk of the story was bleak but there was hope peppered throughout. Although I have to say as dark as most WWII books are I always find light in the strength of the characters.

This was a well told story that read quicker than most historical fiction books. The characters were so compelling and I felt so much for them. This is a book that I think will appeal to most historical fiction fans.

*** Big thanks to Atria for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Berlin, 1939. Bookseller Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, dreamed of blissful summers spent by the lake at Wannsee and unlimited opportunities for their children. But that all falls apart when the family bookshop is destroyed and Julius is sent to a concentration camp. Now, desperate to flee Nazi Germany and preserve what’s left of her family, Amanda heads toward the south of France with her two young daughters—only to arrive with one. In Haute-Vienne, their freedom is short-lived, and soon she and her eldest daughter are forced into a labor camp, where Amanda must once again make an impossible sacrifice.

New York City, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Despite Elise’s best efforts to stave off her past, seven decades of secrets begin to unravel.

Based on true events, The Daughter’s Tale chronicles one of the most harrowing atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis during World War II. Heartbreaking and immersive, it is a beautifully crafted family saga of love, survival, and redemption.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Armando

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Let’s Connect

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have a Beautiful day!🌻

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian @LauraKalpakian @BerkleyPub #bookreview #thegreatpretenders

Happy Monday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this stunning story that truly exceeded my expectations! This was a group read and not everyone has finished yet but everyone is loving it so far!🎬

My Thoughts

an elegantly told exquisite tale of Old Hollywood and the girl who turned it on its head!

Laura Kalpakian stole my heart with this brilliant book! Have you ever finished a Book and thought, I need more and I need it now! That was me with this book. I was so invested in the story and these characters, I was seriously crushed when it was over. Kalpakian completely transported me to 1950s Old Hollywood with her riveting words.

Roxanne is Hollywood royalty, growing up on the back lots of her grandfather’s studio. Raised by her grandparents she is devastated when her grandmother passes away and is angry with her grandfather for leaving her beloved grandmother for a much younger woman. Not wanting to continue college and cut off (sort of) from her grandfather she finds herself living in a bungalow in Malibu. Realizing she knows Hollywood better than most she decides to pursue a career as an agent. After not being taken seriously and dealing with sexual harassment she decides to set out on her own. A huge risk, but Roxanne is all about risk. After a chance encounter (or two) Roxanne finds herself falling in love with Terrence an African-American reporter. BUT this is the 50s and multiracial relationships are a huge taboo even in liberal Hollywood. Will Roxanne‘s risks ultimately pay off? Will love conquer all or leave her heartbroken? You are definitely going to need to read this book and find out the answers to these questions and so much more!

Roxanne was so feisty, so fierce, and so ahead of her time. She was sassy with a vulnerable side and that made her even more endearing. This book took place during the “red scare, “the “blacklist,“ I found the politics of Hollywood fascinating. I also had absolutely no idea that Los Angeles was so segregated in the 50s. Growing up in southern California I guess I always like to think we are a little more enlightened than the rest of the country when it comes to racial relations, I guess not so much? Also fun fact… max one of the screen writers in the story who is blacklisted moves 60 miles south east of LA to the city where I live now(He was pretty much exiled to Riverside). I imagine it was quite rural here back in the day and seemed extremely far away from the hustle and bustle of LA. Now it is nonstop cities and freeways and traffic from LA to Riverside.

Such a magical story! I just loved everything the history, the characters, the setting, the tension, the romance. Roxanne was an amazing character who I won’t soon forget. Her relationship with Terrence was so raw, so intense, and so heart wrenching. I fell for these two so completely. This book had a Beautiful perfect ending, BUT I SO wanted more! A follow up would be great, I would really love to see what happens to these characters next. In case you can’t tell I strongly recommend this book!

*** A huge thank you to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Roxanne Granville is used to getting what she wants – even if she has to break the rules. But after a falling-out with her grandfather, a powerful movie mogul, she has to face life on her own for the first time….
Roxanne forges a career unique for women in the 1950s, becoming an agent for hungry young screenwriters. She struggles to be taken seriously by the men who rule Hollywood and who often assume that sexual favors are just a part of doing business. When she sells a script by a blacklisted writer under the name of a willing front man, more exiled writers seek her help. Roxanne wades into a world murky with duplicity and deception, and she can’t afford any more risks.
Then she meets Terrence Dexter, a compelling African American journalist unlike anyone she’s ever known. Roxanne again breaks the rules and is quickly swept up in a passionate relationship with very real dangers that could destroy everything she’s carefully built.
Roxanne Granville is a woman who bravely defies convention. She won’t let men make all the rules and won’t let skin color determine whom she can love. 
The Great Pretenders is a riveting, emotional novel that resonates in today’s world and reminds us that some things are worth fighting for.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

Let’s Connect!

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have brilliant day!🎬

Berit☀️✨

Posted in Book Bestie Approved

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton @chanelcleeton @BerkleyPub #bookreview #whenweleftcuba

Happy Thursday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this Fantabulous follow up to “Next Year in Havana” a book I reviewed on Tuesday. Both these books are about strong smart women and rich with history.🇨🇺

My Thoughts

An exceptional story about an extraordinary woman! A book rich with love and steeped in history!

Beatriz Perez my queen! There was something about Beatriz that completely captured my heart from the very first page of this book. She was a smart, strong, and sassy woman with an unbreakable spirit and an unstoppable independence. This is a follow-up of sorts to, “Next Year in Havana”, although I’d say you could read this book independently. We do meet Beatriz in the first book (it is the story of her sister Elisa) however Beatrix is on the periphery of that story. Both books are exquisite, however I have to admit I like this book a teeny bit more.

Beatrix might live in the US now, but her heart is still in Cuba. Her family was exiled to the US after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba. Beatriz was the privileged daughter of a sugar barren, she lived a glamorous life filled with parties and glitz. Then her life was turned upside down, she lost her twin brother during the uprise, her family loses all their wealth, and her family is sent away from the land that they loved. Beatrix now has to start over in a new country. Consumed with revenge and a desire to return “home“ she finds herself entangled with the CIA. She also meets a man. A man who is off-limits, A man who will completely capture and consume her. We experience the US Cuba relationship during the 1960s through the pages of this book. We see the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the JFK assassination through Beatrix’s eyes. This book is a true love story, A woman’s love for a country and a man.

Chanel Cleeton’s vivid writing will transport you to the 1960s. The feel and the fear at the beginning of the Cold War seeps through the pages. The historical aspects of this book are compelling, but I have to say the romance wormed its way into my heart. Beatrix Nick’s Love story was so raw, I really can’t think of any other word to describe it. A forbidden love that broke them both and then built them up again. it’s all about Fate and timing and all that.

This was a spellbinding story packed with romance and history rat in a cloak of intrigue! Unequivocally recommend!

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Publisher’s Summary

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life – and heart – to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana. 
Beautiful. Daring. Deadly. 
The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez – her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost. 
As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban-American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future – but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything – not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart.

The Besties

Mackenzie @ PhDiva

Jennifer @ Tarheel Reader

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Kendall @ Sunflower Book Lover

💕💕 Be sure to check out all the Besties’ reviews!

Let’s Connect!

Instagram|

Goodreads|

Twitter|

Have a exceptional day!😍

Berit☀️✨