Posted in Blog Tour

Lies in White Dresses by Sofia Grant @wmmorrowbooks @tlcboktours

TGIF!

What a week! I have felt behind all week probably because I have been behind! But I think I will finally be all caught up and have the weekend to maybe even get a little ahead! Excited to share with you today my review for this book that really emphasize the importance of female friendship!👯‍♀️

My Thoughts

Sofia Grant has written an enlightening and engaging story about a part of history I did not previously know about. In The 1940s and 50s women seeking a divorce would take up residence in Reno Nevada where they could acquire a divorce in six weeks, the “Reno Cure“. This was the story of best friends Francie and Vi Who are traveling together on a train to Reno both seeking a divorce for very different reasons. While on the train they come across June a young lady fleeing an abusive husband, the friends sympathize with June’s plight and take her and her young daughter under their wings. After a night of dinner, drinks, and dancing, a celebration of their new found freedom, a tragedy strikes that will alter these characters lives forever.

This is a story about the strength of female friendship in a time when women had far fewer options than they do today. The story also addressed some other issues such as abuse, homosexuality and disability, made you realize how far we have come, but remember how far we still have to go. Sometimes I had to take a couple steps back and realize that this was the 50s and a different time. I loved the strong theme of friendship running throughout the story, that could be found in the most unlikely of situations. Virgi The 12-year-old daughter of the lady who ran the hotel added some levity to the story. I loved watching her spy on everyone, gather clues and make inferences that were completely incorrect. A miniature Nancy drew, Who ultimately save the day. The perfect blend of drama, history, friendship, and girl power!

This book in three emojis: 👯‍♀️ 💍 🔍

*** Big thanks to William Morrow for my copy of the books ***

About Lies in White Dresses

• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 17, 2019)

Award winning author Sofia Grant weaves an entrancing tale of female friendship and new beginnings inspired by the true stories of those who “took the Reno cure”. In the 1940s and 50s, women who needed a fast divorce went to Nevada to live on a ranch with other women in the same boat.

“Sofia Grant entices us into following three women seeking the Reno Cure, as they overcome their disillusionment over the lives they expected to have and summon the bravery to embrace new and unexpected paths.” –Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room

Francie Meeker and Vi Carothers were sold a bill of goods: find a man, marry him in a white wedding gown, and live happily ever after. These best friends never expected to be on the train to Reno, those “lies in white dresses” shattered, their marriages over.

On board the train they meet June Samples, who is fleeing an abusive husband with her daughter, and take the vulnerable young mother under their wing.  The three decide to wait out the required six weeks together, and then they can toss their wedding bands into the Truckee River and start new lives as divorcees.

But as they settle in at the ranch, one shocking moment will change their lives forever. As it brings their deceptions and fears into focus, it will also demand a reckoning with the past, and the choices that a person in love can be driven to make.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Madeira James

About Sofia Grant

Sofia Grant has the heart of a homemaker, the curiosity of a cat, and the keen eye of a scout. She works from an urban aerie in Oakland, California.

Find out more about Sofia at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Audiobook Review

The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick @HarlequinBooks @HarperAudio #bookreview #audiobook #thewomaninthelake

Happy Monday bibliophiles!

Excited to share my audiobook review for this mesmerizing and magical tale! This book was the perfect blend of contemporary, historical, and magic!✨✨✨

My Thoughts

A spellbinding story pact with scandal suspense and the supernatural!

Beautifully told and breathtaking this story brings present and past together. A bewitched gown Whose evil powers have remain strong throughout the years. Nicola Cornick has spun a tale rich with mystery and magic!

This book was narrated by three separate characters, lady Isabella, her maid constants, and Fenella. The 1765 story was fraught with scandal and deceit. These characters were up to all kinds of no good, scheming, smuggling, and debauchery. Seriously these characters would have made for one tantalizing reality television show! Fenella’s present day story was a little tamer. Fenella has recently got out of a bad marriage, but she has now been reunited with the dreaded gown and all that it implies. We first encounter the gown in 1765 when lady Isabella’s abusive husband gifts her with it. Is it a gift or is it a death sentence? When Constance the maid figures out the true motivation behind the gown she ushers it off into hiding. But the gown’s powers are far reaching its capacity to sway compulsion is strong. Over 200 years later Fen happens across the gown at a historic home and cannot help but pinch it. What power does this gown have over whoever possesses it? And can it be stopped?

I loved how this story wove the historical, the contemporary, and the magical together. It really made for one charming tale with some pretty fascinating characters. Isabella, Constance, and Fenella we’re all very strong smart likable characters, each with their own quirks. The story had a wonderful flow to it and kept me entertained and engaged throughout. This was my first book by Nicola Cornick, but it will definitely not be my last. There was just something so mesmerizing and magical about her writing that really captivated the reader in me.

An exquisitely told tale about a bewitched gown seamlessly woven together with threads of the present and the past. Absolutely recommend!

🎧🎧🎧 The audio book was narrated by multiple narrators always enjoy this win the story is told from multiple different points of view. It really gives each character their own voice and eliminates any confusion as to who is narrating at what time. Also something that I thought was really wonderful about this book was the voices of Lady Isabella and Constance sounded much war historical while Fen’s voice sounded very today. I’m not sure if this even makes sense, but it really worked!

🎵🎵🎵 Song Running Through My Head

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sZFQiy9daY4

*** huge thank you to Harlequin and Harper Audio for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

Publisher’s Summary

From the best-selling author of House of Shadows and The Phantom Tree comes a spellbinding tale of jealousy, greed, plotting and revenge – part history, part mystery – for fans of Kate Morton, Susanna Kearsley and Barbara Erskine
London, 1765
Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.
Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…
250 Years Later…
When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can’t tell what is real and what is imaginary.
As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown – and its past – seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.
©2019 Nicola Cornick (P)2019 HarperCollins 

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Have a beautiful day!🌻

Berit☀️✨

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 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 Excerpt Reveal

Leo’s War by @_PatriciaMurphy @rararesources #Excerpt

Leo’s War

It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Purchase Links

https://www.bookdepository.com/Leos-War-Patricia-Murphy/9781781998151

https://poolbeg.com/home/680-leo-s-war.html

https://www.easons.com/leos-diary-patricia-murphy-9781781998151

Author Bio –

Patricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.

She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels. Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com

Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy

Facebook – h https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/

Giveaway to win a £30 Amazon Gift Voucher (Open to UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser only.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494122/?

Excerpt

In this extract from chapter 3 12 year old Leo and his little sister Ruby have fallen asleep in the barn where they are having a secret midnight feast following the visit of their mother’s cousin. Delia Murphy the Irish ambassador’s wife lives in Rome and she had come to warn that there are more Nazi crackdowns. Their mother in in the Resistance and also transmits messages for Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty’s “Rome Escape Line” that rescues escaped Allied Prisoners of War, partisans and Jews. But she thinks they are safe because they live in a remote area.

The children are startled by the arrival of the local police who arrive in the middle of the night to arrest their mother. Leo creeps out to a nearby olive tree and concealed in the hollowed out trunk observes the arrest. Ruby has cerebral palsy and Leo knows he has to keep her out of the hands of the Nazis at all costs.

“Signora! We have come to search the house!” a local

policeman shouted out. It was Riccardo Two-Bellies as we

called him because he was so fat. He sounded almost

apologetic.

“I have nothing to hide!”

Two other police officers strode up, one of them

grabbing my mother roughly by the shoulder and pulling

her inside the house. My stomach went cold with fear. I

could tell from the racket inside that they were thrashing

the place.

I was frozen in the branches of the tree. I became a part

of the tree, too petrified to move. My legs wood, my arms

branches, my fingers spindly twigs. I don’t know for how

long. But after a time I heard crash, bash, boom! Them leaving

the house.

I dared to peep out. The police were on the path, pulling

my mother roughly behind them.

“Nothing,” they said. And again, “Nothing.”

Their chief glared at her, angry now. “Where are your

children?”

She said nothing. He shouted at her. And when again

she didn’t answer he smacked her across the face. I had to

bite my fist to stop crying out.

She spat out the words. “They are visiting Ruby’s

godmother in Naples.”

But she’d made a mistake. Delia lives in Rome, you

ninny mama! But that was wrong information she was

giving them. On purpose, I realised. I was such a gom.

I have nothing to hide!” she shouted again. “Where are you

taking me?

Ta-thrum, ta-thrum. My heart leapt in my chest when they

threw her into the back of the covered truck.

“The warrant for your arrest came from the Gestapo in

Rome,” said the police chief.

Oh no! The Nazi secret police wanted her. That was

really bad.

“Is it Regina Coeli prison?” she called out, wanting me

to hear, I was sure.

But there was no reply except for the crash of the truck

doors closing.

There was a loose pile of old stones by the grove, the

remains of an old wall. If I dropped down I could pick up a

stone and throw it. I was ready to do it, could almost feel its

heft in my hand. But there was a flutter by my left ear. A

mosquito. Its drone seemed to say “Ruby, Ruby!” Foolish, I

know. But, God’s honest truth, that’s what it said.

I had to get back to my sister and get the hell out of there.

I had to stop being part of the tree. But I had turned to wood

like Pinocchio. Then pins and needles shot up through my

leg. Fizzy foot, Ruby called it. I was a real boy.

I dropped quietly from the gnarled branches and

stumbled back to Ruby.

There she was, crouched under the loose straw littered

inside the barn, like a little animal burrowing into the earth.

I told her what had happened and she began to sob

gently. The tears glistened on her cheeks. I stroked her soft

russet hair and the teardrops fell without noise. Just the

heave of her breath and her hot tears running down her

cheeks.

Then the sound of heavy boots driving into the ground

came thundering towards the barn.

I picked Ruby up and ran out the little door at the side.

“The tree!” Ruby whispered.

I ran towards the old olive tree again. Inside its trunk

was hollow. I stepped in with Ruby and we crouched.

We stilled every nerve in our bodies and we were now

both made of wood. We could hear hot breath in the night,

panting. I saw it was the fat one – Riccardo Two-Bellies –

wheezing into the night. They must have sent him back to

do a check.

The sound of the barn door banging. Riccardo Two-

Bellies mustn’t have looked very hard. Asinello brayed as if

to warn us.

Thud, thud. The footsteps came closer! We were only a

few feet away from him.

A long pause. I almost stopped breathing. His torch

beam probed the darkness, the light raking the still air. I

was sure he had caught our scent like a bloodhound.

The seconds ticked by.

“Not here!” he called.

The sound of footsteps retreating. I didn’t dare raise my

head.

The lorry pulled off. The roar of the engine driving

through the night was a rip in the world.