Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Every Wild Heart: A Novel by Meg Donohue

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

From USA Today bestselling author Meg Donohue comes a mystery, a love story, and a mother-daughter tale about two women on a precarious journey to uncover their true selves.

Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight. Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic?

Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next…

my thoughts:

I love mother-daughter stories! They are my absolute favorite. I even wrote a dissertation about the mother-daughter relationships - that is how much I love this topic.  So, when I read the blurb for Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue, I jumped at the chance to read this book.  And let me just say, I'm so happy I did.  Every Wild Heart is a book with heart that I won't forget.  I absolutely LOVED it!

Gail is a popular radio show host.  She is outgoing and confident.  Her fourteen year old daughter, Nic, is the complete opposite - shy and quiet.  She's especially nervous about starting high school - the horror, the horror.  The only place Nic feels comfortable is at the horse stables.  Unfortunately, she winds up falling off of a horse and injuring her head.  Guess what happens!? Nic undergoes a personality change.  No longer shy and reserved, she's now outgoing and a bit of a dare devil.  Say what?! Yep, Nic is not Nic.  And, Gail doesn't know what to do or how to handle this new person who is her daughter.  Talk about family drama! Oh, and if dealing with the new Nic isn't already taking up plenty of her time, Gail also has to deal with a stalker - Yikes!  Plus, there is a bit of romance on the horizon for the single mom.  Yep, A LOT is happening in Every Wild Heart, but Donohue manages to tackle it all in an entertaining, and heartwarming way that makes reading this book so much fun.

I just LOVED reading this book! This mother-daughter duo is relatable and realistic.  Their problems are definitely their own, but these two are honest, personal, and brave when facing them head-on.  I really enjoyed getting to know them.  I loved that Donohue wrote this book using alternating perspectives for each chapter - meaning that we got to find out what Gail and Nic were really thinking about everything happening to them and around them.  The story had me hooked from start to finish. I loved the writing, characters, and story lines - they all made for such a great book!

I would happily recommend Every Wild Heart to fans of Donohue and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Every Wild Heart
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If I'm Found: If I Run Series Book 2 by Terri Blackstock

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Is Dylan hunting Casey to prosecute her or protect her?

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist that he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and just may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail.

In this riveting sequel to the USA Today bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness. Is Dylan a provision from the God who loves her, or another heartache yet to happen?

my thoughts:

A suspense-thriller at its very best! I absolutely LOVED reading If I'm Found.  The second book in the If I Run series, this book picks up right where the first book left off.  We find Casey on the run from some "dirty" cops who are bent on framing her for murder.  She's also being pursued by P.I. Dylan who isn't so sure that Casey is as guilty as everyone seems to think.  As for Casey, she's determined to set the record straight.  Jumping from one place to the next, this strong and capable woman finds herself trying to prove her innocence and helping those less fortunate at the same time.  She is such a complicated and relatable character - I loved getting to know her.

Blackstock has written a fast-paced and intriguing story that is chock full of twists and turns. Religion does play a significant role, but does not feel in-your-face by any means.  And the characters are just great - the kind that you cheer for and don't want to stop reading about.  If I'm Found is a terrific book that I would happily recommend. Fans of Blackstock and fans of Christian fiction will LOVE this book.  It truly is a fun and captivating read.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Orphan's Tale: A Novel by Pam Jenoff

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival 

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

my thoughts:

Wow! Talk about an unforgettable and unputdownable story that will give you ALL of the feels. The Orphan's Tale is one of the BEST books I've read this year. I am just LOVING historical fiction more and more - this book is the reason why.  Chock full of historical tidbits that enrich this story on every level, The Orphan's Tale is a mesmerizing read about survival, family, and friendship.  It is simply a must-read!

Noa and Astrid are two truly amazing women! They are strong in every which way and have braved so many terrifying situations.  Their secrets keep them on their toes.  And their friendship tests them and their boundaries.  The world around them is at war and they feel its effects.  Bent on surviving, these two women manage to find themselves a place to hide and thrive.  I absolutely LOVED reading their stories.  They were courageous with a capital "C". 

Jenoff has written a terrific story set during WWII that will suck you in right from the start.  Your heart will break, but it will also beat madly for these characters.  The writing will captivate with its strength, richness, and deep storytelling. It is such a great read!

I would happily recommend this book to fan's of Jenoff and fans of historical fiction (especially about WWII) - you will LOVE this book!!

Here's the link to TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Orphan's Tale
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

GIVEAWAY: The Last Days of Magic: A Novel by Mark Tompkins and a Tarot Card Deck

The latest must-read is all about magic, faeries, the Vatican, Ireland, mythology and history - what more could you ask for in a book?!  Check out Mark Tompkins' debut novel,  The Last Days of Magic:

"Spanning the forests and villages of 14th-century Ireland, the lavish courts of France and England, the Vatican’s inner chambers and present-day mysteries, THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC (Penguin; On sale: March 7, 2017; ISBN: 9780143110019; $16), which is now available in paperback, blends historical, fictional, and mythical events to create a richly imagined world and an exhilarating story of adventure and enchantment. Ireland is the last magical outpost on Earth, its Middle Kingdom—home to faeries and otherworldly beings—still strong in the face of the Vatican’s ever-expanding influence, its armies, exorcists and mercenaries.  But when an ancient treaty between the Celts and faeries is broken, leaving them vulnerable to the machinations of the power-hungry Roman Church, the very existence of magic in the world is threatened. 
In Ireland, the reincarnated Morrígna twins are goddesses in human form and the chosen rulers charged with keeping the uneasy peace between the human Celts and Ireland’s faeries, the Sidhe. When one twin is assassinated in an act of defiance by a sect of tree faeries, her sister Aisling, is left weakened and alone, struggling with human desires and a goddess’s destiny.
The Vatican, meanwhile, is plotting the eradication of all magic from Europe takes the opportunity to strike. Jordan is a Vatican commander tapped for the invasion, but he’s plagued with doubts of his own. With budding magical abilities and a growing attachment to the enchantress Najia, he’s torn between desire and duty. As the Celts, Sidhe, and Vatican forces prepare for the battle ahead, Jordan must decide who he stands with—a decision that will have repercussions centuries later, when a graduate student named Sara Hill stumbles unknowingly into the thick of the mystery."

How awesome does that sound? Sounds pretty exciting and fun to me.  I know that I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Last Days of Magic - I just know that its going to quite the reading adventure.  And, thanks to the publisher, I get to offer one (1) lucky reader the chance to get lost in Tompkins' world.  Yep, I'm giving away a copy of the book and a deck of tarot cards - how cool is that?!  Just leave me a comment that includes your email address and I'll throw your name in the hate.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.  The last day to enter is 3/24/17 - Good Luck!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

In This Grave Hour: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

“A female investigator every bit as brainy and battle-hardened as Lisbeth Salander.”  Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air, on Maisie Dobbs

Sunday September 3rd 1939.  At the moment Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain broadcasts to the nation Britain’s declaration of war with Germany, a senior Secret Service agent breaks into Maisie Dobbs’ flat to await her return. Dr. Francesca Thomas has an urgent assignment for Maisie: to find the killer of a man who escaped occupied Belgium as a boy, some twenty-three years earlier during the Great War.

In a London shadowed by barrage balloons, bomb shelters and the threat of invasion, within days another former Belgian refugee is found murdered.  And as Maisie delves deeper into the killings of the dispossessed from the “last war,” a new kind of refugee — an evacuee from London — appears in Maisie’s life. The little girl billeted at Maisie’s home in Kent does not, or cannot, speak, and the authorities do not know who the child belongs to or who might have put her on the “Operation Pied Piper” evacuee train.  They know only that her name is Anna.

As Maisie’s search for the killer escalates, the country braces for what is to come.  Britain is approaching its gravest hour — and Maisie could be nearing a crossroads of her own.

my thoughts:

Maisie Dobbs is my jam. You know I love this series to bits. I've re-read all of the books so many times, that I can tell you about any of them without even thinking about it. I am an addict and I enjoy it. I can't help myself. I love me a good detective story and Maisie Dobbs is the queen of sleuths as far as I'm concerned. She's smart, savvy, resourceful, determined, and gung-ho about getting the job done.  I love her practicality, her strong sense of self, and her continued commitment to helping her family and friends. She is truly one of a kind and I enjoy reading about each of her new adventures (even thought they seem to get more and more dangerous).  I am a fan with a capital "F".

So, what is Maisie up to in this latest book, In This Grave Hour?  Well, London is officially at war with Germany - yikes!  Sandbags are everywhere, people MUST carry their gas masks when they leave the house, children are being evacuated to the country, and everyone is frightened by what this war could mean for them all. Billy's older son wants to join up and serve his country. Pris is terrified that her oldest son will be sent to fight. Sandra is pregnant and the war is stressing her out.  And Maisie fears all of the danger and loss her family and friends will experience during this war.  Of course, there are still cases to work amidst all of this new tension.  Yep, Maisie is still investigating and solving crimes, mysteries, you name it. This time round, she gets hired by none other than Francesca Thomas - a woman involved with secret branches with the British and Belgian governments. She's come by Maisie's home to ask her to look into the death of a Belgian man.  She tells Maisie that the case needs to be solved before anyone else is killed. Maisie agrees to the case and sets out to uncover the truth behind Thomas's involvement and who the murderer is.  Along the way, she must also deal with a little girl named Anna who doesn't talk. She has been evacuated from the City and now resides in Maisie's home out in the country. Her father and step-mum are taking care of her.  No one knows where her parents are or where she came from.  Anna refuses to speak aloud and drags her belongings with her everywhere she goes.  Maisie is determined to find the little girl's family and figure out how to get her to speak.  Suffice it to say, a lot is happening.

Winspear returns with another terrific tale in the Maisie Dobbs series. She manages to keep the stories fresh and the characters growing as the world around them changes. I love the feel of familiar mixed in with the new.  And of course, I love reading about London.  The writing is top notch and filled with great historical tidbits that provides such an authenticity to the story's setting.  I always feel like I'm learning something new when I read these books, which I just love.  As for Maisie, I am all for her figuring out her place in the world after having experienced so much loss.  I just wish that we could see her smile more.  So much loss in her life has left her a bit broken, which is understandable.  And, I just know that this war is going to leave its mark on her, but I also believe that it will push her to flourish in her personal life.  Or at least I hope it will.   I guess we'll just have to wait and see what Winspear has in store for Maisie in the next book - I hear she is currently working on it (Hurrah!) and I can't wait to read it!!

In This Grave Hour is a book I would happily recommend to fans of this popular series and anyone looking to start a terrific sleuthing series - you will LOVE this book (and series)!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: In This Grave Hour
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!